One of the most common injuries to the ankle is a sprain. An ankle sprain is caused by a twisting or turning motion in the ligaments (bands that connect bones to other bones) of the ankle, foot and leg resulting in an overstretch or tear. The lateral (outside) ligaments are the most commonly injured; however, a medial (inside) sprain can still occur. The usual time for a sprain to heal is between two t0 eight weeks with the most severe sprains taking up to 9 months or even a year.
Based on the severity of the sprain a different grade will be given.
- Grade 1 (mild) : An over stretch of a ligament
- Grade 2 (moderate): The ligaments are overstretched or partial tear
- Grade 3 (severe): Completely torn ligaments
After an ankle sprain, physical therapists first work to help get the passive movement back meaning they will be the ones moving the ankle. Next the therapist will have the patient perform some active movements, ones the patients do themselves, and do not cause more pain or swelling. After the patient is able to do active movements the therapist will teach the patient some strength, flexibility, and balance exercises to practice leading to the ability to perform agility exercises. Finally the therapist will give the patient a home exercise program to keep up with to ensure the ankle is fully restored or improved to preinjury level.