Nearly all ankle sprains can be healed with non-surgical treatment. This includes sprains with torn ligaments. A Three Phase Treatment Program for sprains of all severities includes:
- Phase 1: Resting, protecting the ankle from further damage, and reducing swelling
- Phase 2: Restoring range of motion, strength, and flexibility.
- Phase 3: Exercises and gradual return to activities that do not require turning or twisting the ankle. This is follow by the return to all activities, including those that involve cutting and rolling the ankle.
This program takes roughly two weeks to complete for minor sprains and anywhere between 6-12 weeks for severe sprains.
A common home remedy program is RICE. This stand for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
- Rest: Rest your ankle from any further activity
- Ice: Apply ice immediately to reduce the swelling. Apply for 20-30 minutes per day up to four times a day. Do not apply ice directly to skin.
- Compression: Bandages or ace wraps will immobilize and support the injured ankle.
- Elevate: Raise your ankle above the level of your heart as often as possible in the first 48 hours.
Crutches: Swelling will last 2-3 days. This will make walking difficult during this time. Using crutches as needed will help with walking.
Immobilization: It’s important to protect your ankle in the early stages from sudden movements.
Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises are used to prevent stiffness, increased ankle strength, and prevent chronic ankle problems.
Surgery is rarely needed for a Sprain Ankle. Only when the injury does not respond to non-surgical treatment for several months will surgery be recommended.
Common Surgery Procedures Include:
- Arthroscopy: In this procedure the doctor uses a small camera called an arthroscope to look inside the ankle joint. Minitrature instruments are used to remove any loose fragments of bone or cartilage.
- Reconstruction: In this procedure a doctor can repair torn ligaments with stitches or sutures.