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As a Falls Church, VA physical therapy professional from AmeriWell Clinics can explain, soft tissue injuries often occur due to overuse, overexertion in some kind of activity, slip and fall, or sudden impact or blow to the area. One of the most common types of soft tissue injury is a sprained ankle. And while many people may think of a sprained ankle as a “minor” injury, the reality is that it can be very painful and have a significant impact on a person’s ability to go on with their day-to-day life and activities.

What Is an Ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle is forced out of its normal position because of some event. This can cause stretching and/or tearing of one or more of the ligaments located in the ankle. Falls are one of the most common causes of ankle sprains but can also happen when a person lands on their foot the wrong way while jumping. Participating in any kind of sporting activity is also a common cause of sprained ankles, however, just walking on an uneven surface can cause the injury.

Symptoms of a sprained ankle will vary depending on how severe the injury is. Many patients complain of pain in the ankle, particularly when they put any weight on their foot. There is often bruising, swelling, and tenderness when the ankle is touched. Patients also find they have instability of the ankle, and their range of motion is restricted.

Failure to follow the right treatment for a sprained ankle can result in serious complications, including chronic ankle pain, arthritis, and chronic ankle instability.

Treatment for a Sprained Ankle
The type of treatment a patient needs will depend on how bad the sprain is. For minor sprains, doctors usually recommend the R.I.C.E. approach for two to three days:

    Rest and avoid activities that will aggravate the injury.
    Ice the injury for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours.
    Compress the injury by wrapping in an elastic bandage in order to help bring down swelling.
    Elevate the ankle above heart level to help reduce swelling.

Your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to help alleviate the pain. The doctor may also recommend using crutches until the swelling and pain subside. In severe sprains, the patient may need a walking boot to help immobilize the ankle.

Once the swelling has gone down, the doctor may recommend the patient see a physical therapist who will develop a series of exercises to help rebuild the strength in the ankle.

Contact a Physical Therapist Office Today
If you are having ankle issues, call an experienced physical therapist today!