EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET UP & MOVING AGAIN
If you are experiencing ankle pain that just won’t go away, there is a large chance you’ve suffered from a strain or sprain! People often use these two words interchangeably, however, there is a difference between them. A strain is the tearing or overstretching of a muscle or tendon. These tendons connect bones to muscles. The most common location for a strain is your lower back or a hamstring. A sprain is the overstretching or tearing of a ligament. Ligaments are the rows of tissue connecting bones in a joint. Sprains normally occur in your ankle joint. The good news is that you don’t have to live in pain anymore. Physical therapy can help!
WHAT CAUSES A SPRAIN OR STRAIN?
Symptoms for strains and sprains are very similar, which is another reason people seem to mix the two up! You might experience muscle spams, swelling and inflammation, decreased range of motion, limited flexibility, and pain around the affected joint. The biggest difference between the two is that a sprain will normally show up with bruising on the skin around that affected area.
Some ways that you can receive a strain or sprain are as follows:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Overexerting yourself
- Athletic activities
- Slipping and falling
- Prolonged repetitive motion
It’s important to warm up before physical activity to avoid receiving a sprain or strain. Make sure when you’re working out that you are alert and aware of your surroundings, and using the proper equipment as well so you don’t have an accident resulting in one of the two injuries. There are also environmental factors that can put you at risk as well, such as slippery or icy surfaces, or exercising on rocky ground that could cause you to trip and fall.
HOW WE TREAT STRAINS AND SPRAINS
Most strains and sprains can be treated with a technique called the RICE technique. RICE stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Many people can do this technique at home, but it doesn’t always work. If you find that the injury doesn’t heal this way, it’s time to see a doctor. A doctor will most likely perform a few tests and take an X-ray to see if there are breaks to the bone. If there are not, usually the diagnosis is a strain or sprain.
This is where physical therapy can come in! Your doctor might recommend that you visit one, no matter how you received your injury. A physical therapy program can play a major role in your recovery, as physical therapists know a multitude of different ways to successfully treat and reduce pain, including ankle sprains and strains. They can also improve your coordination and strength.
ACTIVE AND PASSIVE TREATMENT
Active treatment in physical therapy involves targeted exercises and stretches. Passive treatment involves electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage, and heat therapy. Electrical stimulation and heat therapy are very effective for reducing ankle pain.
Physical therapy has also been proven as a successful treatment for ligament sprains such as an ACL tear. An ACL tear is a very common knee injury. Physical therapy has also been shown to be effective for an injury to the Achilles tendon and other types of sprains and strains. No matter what your injury might be, physical therapy is here to help.
HOW COMMON ARE ANKLE INJURIES?
Although many injuries are more likely to occur as we age, according to WebMD, “Ankle injuries can happen to anyone at any age. However, men between 15 and 24 years old have higher rates of ankle sprain, compared to women older than age 30 who have higher rates than men. Half of all ankle sprains occur during an athletic activity. Every day in the U.S., 25,000 people sprain their ankle. And more than 1 million people visit emergency rooms each year because of ankle injuries.”
That’s a pretty impressive statistic, and it just goes to show that literally everyone is at risk for receiving an injury to their ankle! That’s why it’s incredibly important to be aware of how you’re moving your body in order to prevent one, as well as understanding your treatment options should you get hurt.
CONTACT OUR OFFICE TODAY TO LEARN MORE
If you’re suffering from ankle pain or a strain or sprain, don’t let things get worse by putting treatment off any longer. Our office is here to help! Give us a call today to learn how we can get you on the road to recovery. Our experienced and certified physical therapists will do a comprehensive assessment of your condition and create an individualized treatment program. We’ll have you recovering and living your normal life again in no time!