How do you know if you’ve sprained your ankle or broken your ankle? You’ve rolled it and you have some pain and some swelling. As the onsite Physical Therapist, Dr. Scotti is available to help triage the situation and help to determine right away if there is a break or a sprain.
If you are more of the visual and auditory learner just click the YouTube video below outlining everything that is in this article!
How do we determine if there’s a sprain or a fracture? We utilize something called the Ottawa Ankle Rules. This simply means that if you have pain on the outside of your ankle after you roll it and you’re unable to take steps or walk on the ankle right after it occurs, we’re going to want to send you for a radiograph (x-ray) to rule out a fracture. This is to make sure that outside bone is not broken! It is possible that upon the trauma of rolling your ankle, that the fibula can fracture. If there is bony tenderness as well as pain in the area, we would want to immediately send for an x-ray.
Many times people ask, well what should I do? Ice, elevate, rest? Well, yes. However, if there is that pain on the outside bone or you really feel like you cannot put weight on it, then you absolutely need to go get an x-ray just to rule out a fracture. This is the first and foremost thing we want to do!
The second thing we want to discuss is many times we have individuals who sprain their ankles and then they ask: “okay, so do I need Physical Therapy or should I just let it rest?” In most cases, we want to refrain from “just resting”. If you chronically sprain your ankle, so you’re constantly spraining it and you’re not really doing damage because you’re rolled it so many times, maybe you don’t need physical therapy for that initial phase but you DO need physical therapy to help correct the weakness and instability that’s leading you to continuously sprain it. In general, it is recommended that you get an evaluation by a physical therapist so they can diagnose the grade of the sprain and determine a prognosis for you, meaning how long is it going to take for your ankle to heal. In general, you’re going to need to focus on decreasing the swelling in your ankle and getting your range of motion or movement back in your ankle. Following that you’re going to want to work on strengthening all of the surrounding musculature of the leg and hip. Keep in mind, the hip is going to play a role in what happens at the foot and ankle.
What we’re commonly seeing is individuals spraining their ankle, going to the Emergency room and getting placed in an immobilizing boot for 2 or 3 weeks.
Then going right from that phase of immobility to walking again. These individuals who have been immobilized for a while come in and they haven’t really started any physical therapy or dealt with their injury the proper way, they have this pain or continued pain and their joints are stiff. The joint has locked up and become stiff. Physical therapists can apply manual therapy to help increase mobility. We want to be promoting movement and mobility so that there is not any stiffness and pain following the injury. Especially as you age, you’re not going to bounce back as quickly. You may need some help to get that full mobility going!
These are the reasons you really need Physical Therapy after your ankle sprain!
For a more in depth analysis of how to heal an ankle sprain in a dancer CLICK THIS LINK for a previous blog post article posted.
The final topic we want to talk about is PREVENTION of an ankle sprain!
It’s so important to discuss this and be aware of how to take preventative measures. Especially if you’ve sprained your ankle once, unfortunately you’re more likely to sprain it again. This is really focused around the strengthening and stabilization of the ankle. This is what we call Neuromuscular control. So not only utilizing the muscles in your foot and ankle but also your knee muscles and hip muscles. The outside hip muscles such as gluteus medius and your rotator hip muscles will play a role in the movement of your foot.
These muscles help to control pronation and supination at the foot, or rolling in and out. We want to focus on strengthening the evertors on the outside of your ankle as well. We want to be strengthening these muscles with not only a theraband but with your foot on the ground with you standing so you can actually work on that neuromuscular control and those muscles.
This is going to be vital in helping to retrain the control of the muscles around the ankles. You also need to train your muscles plyometrically. These exercises are going to be very important for any type of running or jumping in your activity!
Are you a dance parent who is wondering what it will cost your daughter in the long run if she continues to work through the pain?
Have you seen other medical providers in the past that just tell you to stop dancing?
We have a unique treatment approach that focuses on solving these problems with our clients.
Our goal is to help keep your dancer active while recovering from injury by staying in the studio and guiding them in ways to modify their training, rather than eliminating dance!
We combine manual hands-on techniques with guided supervised exercises to help your dancer get stronger, pain-free, and perform at their peak level to get them back in the classroom and on the stage.
The SPARK Physical Therapy Commitment
If you’re in the Wallingford, CT area and are a dancer that has been dealing with injuries we can help. We’d love to chat for a few minutes and see if you are a good fit for what we do. Fill in this CONTACT REQUEST LINK and we’ll set up a free 15-minute phone consultation with a doctor of physical therapy
Thank you for taking the time to read,
– Duane Scotti, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS
A special thanks goes out to Allie Eldridge, SPT for her contributions to this article
3 Reasons to Foam Roll Your Quads Gymnasts, Dancers, Runners! Have you ever had questions about foam rolling, why it’s beneficial and how it can be utilized in your area of performance? Lucky for you we’ve got some great advice coming up. Sit back, relax, and read through our 3 Reasons to Foam Roll… View ArticleRead More
How do you know if you’ve sprained your ankle or broken your ankle? You’ve rolled it and you have some pain and some swelling. As the onsite Physical Therapist, Dr. Scotti is available to help triage the situation and help to determine right away if there is a break or a sprain. If you… View ArticleRead More
Have you ever been in a dance class or rehearsal and rolled your ankle? Have you prepped for a jump and upon take off felt a sharp pain in your ankle? The ankle sprain is by far the most common injury among dancers and in this article we are going to address the diagnosis, prognosis… View ArticleRead More
Are you a dance parent who is wondering what it will cost your daughter in the long run if she continues to work through foot and ankle pain? We are now at the start of full competition season and unfortunately this is the time of the year where most dancers start to complain of pain… View ArticleRead More