Picture this: you’re out for your regular morning walk, feeling good and energized. You round the corner and suddenly hit a patch of uneven pavement that you managed to avoid every day before —this time, feeling a sharp pain and twisting your ankle.
Ankle sprains can happen during just about any regular physical activity. They are the most common type of musculoskeletal injury, with over two million emergency room cases annually.
Although ankle sprains are common, that doesn’t mean they’re any less painful or debilitating, and you shouldn’t let them limit your quality of life. These injuries can be incredibly painful, often leaving you sidelined from your favorite activities. But with the help of physical therapy, you can get back to doing what you love in no time.
Physical Therapy Exercises to Strengthen and Stabilize Your Ankle
After a thorough assessment of your condition, a physical therapist can determine the severity of your injury and identify any underlying issues that affect your pain level and discomfort. They can then suggest the best solution for recovering from your ankle sprain.
Taking into account your specific injury, your physical therapist will design a set of tailored exercises that work on improving mobility and strength and promoting proper healing.
Those exercises may include:
Range of motion exercises — Controlled movements that help restore the ankle's normal range of motion and prevent stiffness.
Strength training — Exercises that target the muscles around the ankle to help improve strength and support.
Gentle ankle stretches — Slow and controlled stretches that help increase flexibility and reduce stiffness in the ankle joint.
Balance and control support — Exercises that improve balance and stability by challenging the ankle's control and coordination.
Resistance exercises — Activities that use resistance bands or weights to help improve muscle strength and endurance around the ankle joint.
In addition to exercises, manual therapy is a pivotal component of rehabilitation of ankle injuries. A skilled therapist evaluates the mobility and integrity of all joints, ligaments and soft tissue around the ankle and associated structure including the calf and foot. Upon assessment, it is common for a therapist to find decreased extensibility, decreased joint play of the small joints within the foot itself, ligamentous sensitivity and tenderness as well as aggressive trigger points throughout the surrounding musculature. If all components of the injury are not addressed, a patient may experience continued pain beyond what is expected or worse, an incomplete return to daily activity due to lack of complete healing.
Ankle Rehabilitation: Why PT Works Wonders
Physical therapy is an important part of rehabilitating your ankle because it helps to improve strength, flexibility, and balance in the joint. When you suffer from an ankle injury, your body's natural response is to protect the affected area by limiting movement and activity.
While this is a necessary step in the healing process, it’s common for the muscles and ligaments around the injured ankle to weaken, leading to difficulty moving, further discomfort, and possible re-injury.
When you sprain your ankle, you may experience any or all of the following:
Instability of the joint
Physical therapy exercises can help to counteract these negative effects by promoting increased blood flow, better flexibility, and improved range of motion.
In-Home Physical Therapy for Ankle Injuries
Bring your healing home rather than feeling the pressure (literally and figuratively) of visiting a clinic. While physical therapy exercises can be done independently once your treatment plan has been established, it's always best to have a professional guide you through the process.
That's where Luna PT comes in. We will connect you with a licensed physical therapist who will work around your schedule and help rehabilitate your ankle from the comfort of your home. An in-home physical therapy solution like Luna can help bridge the gap between in-clinic visits, keeping you connected with an experienced provider and giving you the support you need to heal properly without the hassle of visiting a clinic.
Take the first step towards your ankle rehabilitation journey and find a PT near you.