What Is The Fastest Way To Heal A Torn Ligament In The Ankle
Tips to aid healing
Causes Of Ankle Injuries
Ankle injuries are very common because they can happen to anyone. People of all ages can suffer an ankle injury like a sprained ankle from simply walking or jogging along uneven surfaces. A person can sprain their ankle after tripping, slipping, or falling down. Ankle injuries can also be caused by participation in sports that require a lot of leg and foot movement. Football, soccer, and hockey are some examples of sports that commonly cause ankle injuries because of the amount of agility required while playing the game. Sports like basketball and volleyball can also lead to ankle injuries when players jump and land poorly on their foot or land hard on the foot of someone else.
The most common reason why an ankle injury occurs is when the ankle joint is twisted or rolled forcefully, which can cause the ankle joint to move out of its normal position. People who have suffered an ankle injury in the past are also more susceptible to experiencing another ankle sprain in the future, especially if the previous injury didnt heal properly.
How Are Ankle Sprains Diagnosed
To diagnose ankle sprains, doctors ask about the injury and do an exam. They’ll check the bones and soft tissue of the ankle, watch the person’s range of motion, and do strength tests.
Sometimes, the doctor may order an X-ray or other imaging study to see if there are other injuries, such as a broken bone.
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How Long Does It Take To Heal A Sprained Ankle
There are a few simple things you need to know in order to determine how long it will take to heal a sprained ankle. The first and most important thing you need to know is do you have a fracture or a regular type of ankle sprain?
The only way to know that for sure is to get an x-ray. They will immediately be able to tell you if there is a break. Sometimes, there can be a hair-line fracture, which you would never know without an x-ray. So, we always recommend starting there, if you have any concerns about the severity of the injury whatsoever.
Remember, if you have a fracture, you need to immobilize the ankle join until it heals. Most of the time, fortunately, it will not be a fracture and instead, just a regular ankle sprain. If thats the case, thats great news, because it means your healing time should be much shorter and easier
At that point, ask yourself the second question what type of grade is the sprain? There are 3 grades, and they will determine the amount of time it takes to heal.
Basically, grade 1 is pretty minor and grade 3 can be a full rupture of the tendons. Obviously, if you have a grade 1 sprain, you should be walking again without much pain within a few days or weeks, depending on how you heal the injury. But, a grade 3 sprain could mean months of healing time, especially if you do not do the right things to heal your ankle.
So, in order to help determine how long it will take to heal a sprained, you need to know:
When Can You Return To Sport After An Ankle Sprain
While the healing timeframes are important to consider with your return to sport, there are several tests that can be done to assess your readiness to return to sport. Strength and stability are certainly considered, along with agility and muscle memory. Typically, you can start addressing these factors while the body is healing, and so once the body is healed, there are no unnecessary delays to your return to sport. For example, proprioception exercises and running in a straight line can be commenced as part of a planned rehabilitation program prior to pivoting and turning etc.
Ankle sprains are common and easily addressed/treated, but if not managed well can, unfortunately, become recurrent. If you have injured your ankle recently or are looking to return to sport and are not sure if the stability and agility have fully recovered, contact us at Fairfield Physiotherapy for a thorough assessment and treatment to get you back to full fitness.
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Use Pain To Guide Your Treatment
Let pain be your guide. Do not exceed 3/10 pain during the rehab exercises.
If you are experiencing pain greater than 3/10 during or after the exercises, then you probably did too much.
Changes in movement patterns can initially be protective, but walking normally should be resumed as soon as possible.
Key Requirements For Returning To Activity
Range of Motion:
- Maintaining range of motion is vitally important. In severe ankle sprains a period of immobilization might be required but once allowed you should start to move your ankle as soon as possible. Your physical therapist will be able to provide exercises and perform manual techniques that can expedite the process. Lacking range of motion can put unnecessary stress on other ankle/lower limb structures when your return to sport.
Balance and Proprioception:
- Some people feel more confident if they have some support around their ankle when returning to their activity. This is usually a short term strategy and it is important that you do not become dependent on these. In certain circumstances where the ligaments are very lax, wearing a supportive brace might be a good idea. However, your physical therapist or doctor will advise you on this.
- It is common for some residual swelling to remain within the ankle joint in the latter stages of rehab. Mild swelling that does not affect function or cause pain might be fine and you can still return to activity. However, ideally you should not have swelling after activity and this is indicative of good healing. Again, consulting with your physical therapist or doctor is vital on returning to activity.
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How Long Does A Sprained Ankle Take To Heal
You probably know the feeling: youre walking down a flight of stairs and roll your ankle the wrong way. It can be such an awkward experience to roll your ankle, and you might even stumble or fall, adding to the embarrassment. In many cases, rolling your ankle leaves you feeling more embarrassed and uncomfortable than anything else. However, there are also times when you twist your ankle and suffer an ankle injury. Twisting your ankle might sound like something that goes away on its own, but there are also times when you may need to see a doctor. From a sprained ankle to ankle fracture treatment, your doctor can diagnose what type of ankle injury youve sustained and determine the best course of treatment for you.
Different types of ankle sprains and injuries have different healing times. If you recently injured your ankle and are wondering about sprained ankle recovery, then continue reading to learn more about what to expect with a variety of common ankle injuries.
Low Vs High Ankle Sprain
The most common type of ankle sprain is a low ankle sprain, which refers to when you roll or twist your ankle inward and cause torn ligaments along the outside of the ankle. A high ankle sprain, however, refers to a less common though still serious ankle injury where the ligaments along the inside of your ankle become torn. A high ankle sprain can also impact bones and can occur along with an ankle fracture.
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What Is A High Ankle Sprain
A high ankle sprain is a sprain in the upper ligaments of your ankle, above the ankle itself. These ligaments are attached to the fibula and the tibia, stabilizing the entire area for activities like running and walking.
When you damage or tear those ligaments often due to rotating or twisting your ankle youre experiencing a high ankle sprain. This type of sprain doesnt occur as often as a sprain in the lower part of the ankle.
How The Ankle Joint Works
The ankle is a hinged synovial joint, which means it moves primarily in an up and down motion. Three bones come together to make up the ankle joint: the talus, located above the heel of your foot, the fibula, which is the thin bone on the outside of your leg, and the tibia, or shin bone. A combination of tendons, ligaments, and muscles also surround and support, providing the stability and flexibility required to move and extend the ankle and foot. The musculoskeletal structure of the ankle allows for you to be able to move your foot up and down, and another joint is located just below the ankle joint and helps the foot move from side to side. Tough, moveable tissue makes up tendons that connect the bones in your leg to one another and to the foot through the ankle.
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Signs Of A High Ankle Sprain
Along with typical symptoms of an ankle sprain like pain and swelling here are specifics to look out for in the case of a high ankle sprain.
If youve experienced a high ankle sprain, you might be able to put weight on your foot and ankle, but youll probably have pain above your ankle, between your fibula and tibia.
Youll likely experience more pain when climbing up or down stairs, or engaging in any activities that cause your ankle bones to flex upward.
A high ankle sprain can also result in a fractured fibula.
If youve fractured one of the bones in your ankle along with a high ankle sprain, you wont be able to put weight on that foot.
Signs Of An Ankle Sprain
There are a few common things that happen when you sprain your ankle. You may suffer from pain, swelling and bruising. If you put weight on your foot, the pain will increase. You may suffer from a limited range of motion, ankle instability, warmth and redness. When the injury initially occurs, you may hear a popping sound. Afterward, your ankle will feel tender when you touch it.
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How To Come Back Stronger And Faster After An Ankle Sprain
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 by UVM Health Network – CVMC
An ankle sprain is such a common injury that many people tend to just ice and hobble along until they feel ready to get back to their favorite activities. In order to prevent this type of injury or lingering pain from becoming chronic, it is important to take an active role in your recovery.
Exercises that focus on range of motion, strength and balance can help you recover quicker and stronger.
Sprained Ankle Recovery Time
Orthopedists deal with sprained ankles just about every day. Theyre the most common injury by a landslide and a sort of inevitability. Most people sprain their ankle at least once in life, and especially active people tend to do it a few times. However, each sprained ankle requires its own care and diagnosis. Sprained ankle recovery time and treatment can change a lot based on how bad the sprain is, how it happened, and how long it was until the patient sought care.
You can treat almost every sprained ankle with the RICE method. The RICE method is simple: rest, ice, compression, elevation. Get off the ankle, put some ice on it, wrap it, and keep it above your heart when youre resting. If you do that, it will feel like no time at all until your sprained ankle is fully recovered. As it stands, too much standing can only do more damage. If you want your sprained ankle recovery time to be as short as possible, you need to keep off of it as much as you can bear. Remember: its better to deal with it now than to deal with it forever.
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Grades Of Ankle Sprains
Sprains can range from minor to severe. Your doctor likely will put your sprain at one of three “grades” based on the amount of damage:
- Grade 1: Your ankle will probably feel sore and may be slightly swollen. In this case, the ligament has been overstretched but not torn.
- Grade 2: You have a partial tear in the ligament. This causes prolonged pain and swelling. It might prevent you from putting your full weight on the ankle. You may also notice bruising. This is because the tear has caused bleeding under your skin.
- Grade 3: This is a full tear of the ankle ligament. You may have heard a popping sound when it happened. This level of sprain causes severe pain, swelling and bruising. Because the ligament is no longer able to do its job, your ankle will feel unstable and will be unable to support any of your weight.
How Is An Ankle Sprain Diagnosed
An ankle sprain is diagnosed by a health care professional by looking at the ankle and asking about how the injury occurred. The ankle may also be x-rayed to check for any broken bones.
If the sprain is severe, your doctor may order more imaging tests, including an MRI and CT scan.
That being said, from a practical standpoint, you can usually diagnose an ankle sprain yourself using some common sense.
For example: if your ankle is a bit swollen and stiff but starts to improve after 2-3 days, then you likely have a minor sprain.
On the other hand, if your ankle swells the size of a grapefruit with heavy bruising and discolouration, you are likely dealing with a grade 2 or grade 3 sprain.
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Types Of Ankle Sprains And Associated Healing Times
If youve been told you have an ankle sprain, youre probably wondering how severe the sprain is, and how long it will take to heal.
An ankle sprain involves one or more of the ligaments that connect your bones in your leg to your bones in your foot.
Your ankle ligaments keep your bones from moving out of place. When you sprain your ankle, you stretch or tear a ligament.
Sampsell says sprains are defined by grades, and are ranked from mild to severe. The approximate healing times correspond with these grades as follows:
|Type of ankle sprain|
|third degree or grade 3||3 to 6 months|
When To Get Help For A Sprained Ankle
Someone with a sprained ankle should go to the ER right away if it any of the following occurs:
- The joint appears deformed
- The injured person is pale or has an unsteady pulse
- The injured person experiences paralysis, tingling, or extreme pain
You may also need to see your doctor or a specialized sports medicine doctor if you have a severe sprain and/or your symptoms persist despite practicing R.I.C.E. at home.
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High Ankle Sprain Treatments
High ankle sprains tend to take longer to heal than the more common strains. Here are steps you can take during the healing process.
- Ice. First, your doctor may advise you to ice your ankle every few hours for about 20 minutes at a time.
- Compression. Wrapping your leg with a light compression bandage and elevating it, in addition to icing, can also help relieve pain and swelling.
- Anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Taking anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medicines like naproxen or ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain at the injury site.
- Rest. Youll need to keep weight off your injured ankle and tape or splint the injured area. Sometimes, high ankle sprains can mean you need to use crutches or wear a boot that allows you to walk on your foot while also properly positioning the ankle and foot for healing.
- Strengthen. Physical therapy is also needed in many cases. Therapy can help make your tendons stronger to help prevent a recurrence of this type of injury.
What Is The Difference Between A Sprained Ankle And A Broken Ankle
A sprained ankle is when the ligaments in your ankle are torn. A broken ankle or ankle fracture is when one or more of the bones in your ankle break. Severe sprains and fractures have similar symptoms and are both caused by twisting or rotating your ankle, tripping or falling, or trauma to your ankle. Sprains heal faster, but it can take up to six weeks for a broken ankle to heal.
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Can I Go Back To Sports
If you have an ankle sprain, you’ll probably need to take some time off from sports and other strenuous physical activities. Make sure your sprained ankle is completely healed first.
You can go back when:
- The swelling goes down.
- The sport does not cause pain.
- The doctor says it’s OK.
- You can bear weight without a limp.
- You have your full range of motion.
- Your strength returns to normal.