Sometimes you don’t realise how much you use or feel a part of your body until something happens to it.
Think about every inconveniently-placed mosquito bite. Or that time you burned a finger making dinner. Or when you forgot to put sunscreen on the top of your feet.
One part of your body that you simply can’t live without is your joints.
Whether it’s ankle, elbow or wrists, your joints are essential for your mobility. Daily tasks like going to the gym, working, even doing the groceries turn from routine to herculean efforts when you sprain one of your joints.
We know first hand that living with a sprain can be difficult and inconvenient.
That’s why today, we’re running through all of your options when it comes to treating sprains.
What causes sprains? A quick recap
We’ve written before about sprains, but in case you missed that one, here’s a quick recap.
But before we talk about the causes, we need to explain ligaments.
Ligaments are what hold our joints together. They’re the tough, fibrous tissue that connect the bones and cartilage in our joints.
To cut a long story short: sprains are caused by damage to the ligaments in your joints.
Maybe the joint is simply overused. Other times, it could be a nasty fall and a bad landing that damage your joints.
Excessive strain on your joints can cause ligaments to stretch beyond their intended range of movement. This can lead to damage ranging from minor to complete tears in your ligaments!
Sprains are most common in your ankle – after all, out of all the joints in your body that’s the one that puts up with the most abuse every day. However, they can also pop up in any of your joints.
Different treatments for different sprains
Now, onto the real meat of the topic: treating sprains.
Sprains are divided into three main categories depending on their severity:
- Grade 1: mild sprains that generally result in minimal physical impairment. Usually the result of overstretching your ligaments
- Grade 2: moderate sprains that result in moderate impairment. Generally caused by physical damage to the affected ligament
- Grade 3: severe sprains caused by complete breakage of your ligaments
Treating sprains from home: can it be done?
The RICE method: popular, but highly outdated
If you’ve been involved in any sorts of sports science class or suffered a sporting injury, you’re likely familiar with the acronym RICE. It stands for:
Once upon a time, it was the default treatment for sprains that you could do yourself from the comfort of your own home.
Sprained ankle? RICE.
Sore knee? RICE.
Wrist injury? RICE.
These days however, the RICE method has quickly become an outdated and overall ineffective treatment to many types of injuries, including sprains.
The fist step of Rice is REST – but as an athlete or simply a busy person, you really don’t have the time to rest.
Ice, the second step, is another part of the method we here at Physio AUS have deemed outdated and ineffective. Icing is a technique that in fact does nothing to induce healing.
A better way to think about acute injury management of something like a simple ankle sprain would be MATE – Movement, Analgesia, Treatment, Exercise.
How your Highett physio treats an ankle sprain
If you are suffering from pain or cannot bear weight on your ankle, book a consultation with our Highett physio immediately.
Unique rehabilitation exercises and routine
Our physio treats sprains by crafting a unique rehabilitation routine. This can include things like:
- Gentle exercises to improve range of motion
- Strength training to prevent recurrence
- Tools like casts, braces and walking boots
- Sport-specific treatments
- Routines that restore joint balance
Joints are complex collections of bones, ligament and tendons – we need to tread carefully. That’s why we create routines tailored treatment plans depending on the nature of your sprain.
In fact, the thorough assessment underpins your entire treatment – it’s critical your physio gets it right! At Physio AUS, we have a promise:
Based on our findings from your very first appointment, we’ll tell you exactly what your treatment will involve, how long it will last, and how frequently you should see us.
Sprained Ankle Treatment – Get Help From A MATE!
With the expert guidance provided by one of our physios during your initial consult you’ll be on the right track from the start by being given the exact dosage of Movement, Analgesia (if needed we can liaise with your GP for this) Treatment and exercise to get you back to recovery quicker.
Sprained ankle surgery
In the absolute worst cases (which are very rare) the only way to treat a sprain may be with surgery.
Surgery can be:
- Arthoscopic: this surgery is used to identify complications that prevent normal healing
- Reconstructive: surgeons stitch broken ligaments back together
Fortunately for you, surgery for sprains is extremely rare.
One reason is that surgery can have negative long-term effects. According to some studies, surgery can lead to abnormal joint motion. Others claim that surgery is linked to an increased risk of joint arthritis.
As a result, we strongly recommend talking to our physio about non-surgical rehabilitation techniques before considering the surgical route. And if surgery is deemed a necessity, it’s critical to get the right physio afterwards to ensure your ankle gets back to normal and doesn’t end up like a concrete slab!
Don’t let sprains get you down: let our Highett physio treat your painful ankle sprain
Do you have a sprained ankle that’s stopping you from playing your favourite sport or engaging in your regular exercise routine?
Whatever joint is causing you strife, get in touch with the Physio AUS team today.
Our unique AUS System is aimed at not just identifying the causes of your sprain, but also providing unique solutions that target the root causes of your problems and prescribing a tailored plan that sustains those results for good.
Walk-ins are welcome at our Highett physio.