Physical Therapy Treatment for Ankle Pain
The ankle joint is one of the critical joints in the body. This weight-bearing joint enables movement and activities like jumping and running. Unfortunately, it is susceptible to injury due to its vital function. It’s not surprising that healthcare providers in the country treat close to 2 million people for ankle injuries each year.
Luckily, physical therapy can help you overcome your ankle injury. It can also strengthen and stretch your ankle to reduce re-injury risk. This is your comprehensive guide to physical therapy for ankle pain.
What Causes Ankle Pain?
Your ankle pain might result from arthritis, injury, or normal wear and tear. Let’s discuss the common cause of ankle pain below.
Ankle sprains occur when ligaments stretch or tear when your ankle rolls beyond its normal range of motion. These injuries are common among athletes who participate in sports with sudden movements and running and jumping. In most cases, ankle sprains take two weeks to eight weeks to heal. Common symptoms of ankle sprains include the inability to stand, weakness, stiffness, instability, and swelling.
Your ankle has fluid-filled sacs that cushion your bones when walking, running, jumping, and even standing. These fluid-filled sacs are known as bursae. Bursitis occurs when these sacs swell and become inflamed.
Your ankle has tendons that connect muscles to bones. Unfortunately, tendons might tear when overstretched, causing tendonitis. When injured, tendons tend to be inflamed, tender, and irritated.
To perform the crucial weight-bearing task, your ankle has many bones that support it. These bones can break after a sport, auto, or work injury causing knee pain. Ankle fractures can be mild or severe.
Diseases and Disorders
Diseases and disorders such as arthritis, flatfoot, infection, and gout can also cause ankle pain. Arthritis occurs when cartilages in the ankle wear out and expose the bones. The exposed bones rub together, causing pain and discomfort.
How Do Physical Therapists Diagnose Ankle Pain?
Before designing a personalized ankle pain treatment plan for you, your physical therapist must identify the specific cause of your ankle pain. First, physical therapists will ask you various questions, including:
- How you were injured
- How your ankle feels when you move
- Whether you are finding it hard to perform critical tasks like walking, standing, or running
- If you have ankle instability
- What positions are reducing or amplifying the discomfort
Your physical therapist will touch the area around your ankle to know whether it is tender to the touch. The physical therapist might also conduct further tests to measure functional mobility, flexibility, strength, and discomfort depending on your specific condition. Advanced imaging might also be used if need be.
Does Physical Therapy for Ankle Pain Work?
Physical therapy does not only reduce ankle pain. It also strengthens your ankle to prevent the risks of re-injury. Your physical therapist will design the perfect treatment plan for your specific needs. The physical therapist might also advise you to do the following within 24 to 48 hours of being injured.
- Apply ice 15 to 20 minutes after every two hours
- Walk after some time to strengthen the ankle
- Use a walking aid if need be
These tips can help you treat ankle pain at home. However, it’s best to see a certified physical therapist as soon as possible. The physical therapist will help reduce the swelling and restore complete mobility.
Looking for qualified physical therapists for your ankle injury? Contact La Clínica today to learn more.