Ankle sprain, strains and injuries are often thought of as resulting from playing sports, but even everyday activities such as walking on an uneven surface can cause someone to injure themselves. Most ankle injuries do not require surgery unless the bones in the joint are severely fractured and out of place. The most common course of treatment to repair ligaments and tendons that are injured in a mishap is physical therapy.
Types of Ankle Injuries
Three bones meet at the ankle–the tibia and fibula of the lower leg and the talus of the foot. Ligaments, elastic band of connective tissue, at the ankle hold together these bones while also allowing normal motion. Tendons attach bones to muscles and help keep the joint stable.
The type of tissue affected defines the injury:
- A fracture involves a break in one or more bones
- A sprain is damage to ligaments that are stretched beyond their normal range
- A ligament sprain can be as minor as microscopic tears in fibers to complete tear or rupture
- Strains occur when muscles and tendons are stretched too far
How Physical Therapy Helps Ankle Injuries
Your physical therapist will work closely with you to design a treatment program that will help you heal more quickly than you would on your own. Treatment will involve specific movements that will allow you to perform during your physical therapy session, an exercise program to perform at home and ways to prevent further injury.
Physical therapy helps improve injuries by:
- Reducing pain and swelling
- Improve motion
- Improve flexibility and strength
- Improve endurance
- Improve balance
- Restore agility
Treatment programs include activity goals that help patients set recovery goals for home, work and sports. By following your treatment closely, you will reach these goals in the safest and most effective way possible.