Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries that occur to the lower extremity. This injury affects millions of people per year and can occur in people of all ages. The bones that form the ankle are held together by connective tissues that are called ligaments. A sprain means that the ligaments of a joint have been stretched or torn. Let’s talk about what causes a sprained ankle and how chiropractic care may be able to help an ankle sprain heal.
What Causes an Ankle Sprain?
When someone has an ankle that “rolls” either inward or outward the result can be an ankle sprain injury. When the joint moves further than normal the result is extra stress on the ligaments. This stress can result in a ligament that tears either partially or completely. This can happen to someone walking or performing everyday activities like stepping off a curb. It can also happen when playing a sport or if a trauma occurs at the ankle. Most commonly the ankle rolls inward (inversion) and affects the ligaments on the outside aspect of the ankle. Sprained ankles can also occur if the foot everts (rolls outward), which would affect the ligaments on the inside of the ankle.
Grading of Ankle Sprains
Sprains are graded in severity from grade 1 to grade 3. Grade 1 would be a partial tear and a grade 3 would mean that the ligament has been completely torn. Severe sprains can also be part of a larger injury that can include broken bones or other bodily damage. A grade 1 sprain may be sore with mild or no swelling. Conversely, a grade 3 sprain will likely have swelling, bruising and the joint may no longer be stable. A grade 1 sprain will typically heal faster than a grade 2 or 3 due to the tissue not being as badly damaged. Due to the ligaments being damaged the joint may misalign. If the sprain is a grade 1 or 2 chiropractic adjustments can often help realign the joint to help encourage its healing. If a grade 3 sprain occurs surgery to help stabilize the joint may be needed. Sometimes a past injury can cause chronic pain in the ankle. Often, chiropractic adjustments can help to relieve pain from an old ankle sprain.
Chiropractic Care and Ankle Injuries
When a sprained ankle first occurs, it is important to find out how badly it is damaged. First, we will perform an evaluation to determine how badly the joint is damaged. If we are concerned about bone damage, we may also take an x-ray of the ankle to help visualize the bones. Lower grade sprains often respond well to chiropractic care. If a grade 1 or 2 injury is present, we will often adjust the ankle joint. We also may adjust the spine as a lower back or pelvis misalignment, or subluxation, is often present when an ankle injury occurs. Depending on the case, we may also recommend icing, support for the joint and some rehabilitation exercises to help the joint to heal better. Also, chiropractic care can often help pain from an old injury to the ankle. If you are suffering from ankle pain from either a new or old injury, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. Our chiropractors would be happy to evaluate your case and determine if we think that chiropractic may be able to help relieve your ankle pain.