Ankle Sprain: Teen Version

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1 Ankle Sprain: Teen Version What is an ankle sprain? An ankle sprain is an injury that causes a stretch or tear of one or more ligaments in the ankle joint. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones at the joint. Sprains may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. There are many ligaments in the ankle. The most common type of sprain involves the ligaments on the outside part of the ankle (lateral ankle sprain). Ligaments on the inside of the ankle may also be injured (medial ankle sprain) as well as ligaments that are high and in the middle of the ankle (high ankle sprains). How does it occur? A sprain is caused by twisting your ankle. Your foot usually turns in or under but may turn to the outside. What are the symptoms? Symptoms of a sprained ankle include: mild aching to sudden pain swelling bruising inability to move the ankle properly pain in the ankle even when you are not putting any weight on it How is it diagnosed? To diagnose a sprained ankle, the healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine your ankle carefully. X-rays may be taken of your ankle. How it is treated? To treat this condition: Put an ice pack, gel pack, or package of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a cloth on the area every 3 to 4 hours, for up to 20 minutes at a time. Raise the ankle with a pillow when you sit or lie down. Use an elastic bandage, lace-up brace or ankle stirrup (an Aircast or Gel cast) on the ankle as directed by your provider.

2 Use crutches until you can walk without pain. Take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, or other medicine as directed by your provider. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days. Follow your provider s instructions for doing exercises to help you recover. Rarely, severe ankle sprains with complete tearing of the ligaments need surgery. After surgery your ankle will be in a cast for 4 to 8 weeks. How long will the effects last? The length of recovery depends on many factors such as your age, health, and if you have had a previous ankle injury. Recovery time also depends on the severity of the sprain. A mild ankle sprain may recover within a few weeks, whereas a severe ankle sprain may take 6 weeks or longer to recover. Recovery also depends on which ligaments were torn. A lateral sprain (outside ligaments) takes less time to recover than a medial sprain (inside ligaments) or a high ankle sprain (high, middle ligaments). When can I return to my normal activities? Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Return to your activities depends on how soon your ankle recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury has occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. The goal of rehabilitation is to return to your normal activities as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury. You may safely return to your normal activities when, starting from the top of the list and progressing to the end, each of the following is true: You have full range of motion in the injured ankle compared to the uninjured ankle. You have full strength of the injured ankle compared to the uninjured ankle. You can walk straight ahead without pain or limping. How can I help prevent an ankle sprain? To help prevent an ankle sprain: Wear proper, well-fitting shoes when you exercise. Stretch gently and adequately before and after athletic or recreational activities. Avoid sharp turns and quick changes in direction and movement. Consider taping the ankle or wearing a brace for strenuous sports, especially if you have a previous injury.

3 Developed by RelayHealth. Published by RelayHealth. Last modified: Last reviewed: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. References Pediatric Advisor Index 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Ankle Sprain Exercises As soon as you can tolerate pressure on the ball of your foot, begin stretching your ankle using the towel stretch. When this stretch is easy, try the other exercises. Towel stretch: Sit on a hard surface with your injured leg stretched out in front of you. Loop a towel around your toes and the ball of your foot and pull the towel toward your body keeping your leg straight. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat 3 times. Standing calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Keep your injured leg back with your heel on the floor. Keep the other leg forward with the knee bent. Turn your back foot slightly inward (as if you were pigeon-toed). Slowly lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times. Do this exercise several times each day. Standing soleus stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about chest height. Keep your injured leg back with your heel on the floor. Keep the other leg forward with the knee bent. Turn your back foot slightly inward (as if you were pigeontoed). Bend your back knee slightly and gently lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the lower calf of your injured leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times. Ankle range of motion: Sit or lie down with your legs straight and your knees pointing toward the ceiling. Point your toes on your injured side toward your nose, then away from your body. Point your toes in toward your other foot and then out away from your other foot. Finally, move the top of your foot in circles. Move only your foot and ankle. Don't move your leg. Repeat 10 times in each direction. Push hard in all directions. Resisted ankle dorsiflexion: Tie a knot in one end of the elastic tubing and shut the knot in a door. Tie a loop in the other end of the tubing and put the foot on your injured side through the loop so that the tubing goes around the top of the foot. Sit facing the door with your injured leg straight out in front of you. Move away from the door until there is

4 tension in the tubing. Keeping your leg straight, pull the top of your foot toward your body, stretching the tubing. Slowly return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15. Resisted ankle plantar flexion: Sit with your injured leg stretched out in front of you. Loop the tubing around the ball of your foot. Hold the ends of the tubing with both hands. Gently press the ball of your foot down and point your toes, stretching the tubing. Return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15. Resisted ankle inversion: Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Cross the ankle of your uninjured leg over your other ankle. Wrap elastic tubing around the ball of the foot of your injured leg and then loop it around your other foot so that the tubing is anchored there at one end. Hold the other end of the tubing in your hand. Turn the foot of your injured leg inward and upward. This will stretch the tubing. Return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15. Resisted ankle eversion: Sit with both legs stretched out in front of you, with your feet about a shoulder's width apart. Tie a loop in one end of elastic tubing. Put the foot of your injured leg through the loop so that the tubing goes around the arch of that foot and wraps around the outside of the other foot. Hold onto the other end of the tubing with your hand to provide tension. Turn the foot of your injured leg up and out. Make sure you keep your other foot still so that it will allow the tubing to stretch as you move the foot of your injured leg. Return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15. You may do the following exercises when you can stand on your injured ankle without pain. Heel raise: Balance yourself while standing behind a chair or counter. Using the chair or counter as a support to help you, raise your body up onto your toes and hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly lower yourself down without holding onto the support. (It's OK to keep holding onto the support if you need to.) When this exercise becomes less painful, try lowering yourself down on the injured leg only. Repeat 10 times. Do 2 sets of 15. Rest 30 seconds between sets. Step-up: Stand with the foot of your injured leg on a support 3 to 5 inches high (like a small step or block of wood). Keep your other foot flat on the floor. Shift your weight onto the injured leg on the support. Straighten your injured leg as the other leg comes off the floor. Return to the starting position by bending your injured leg and slowly lowering your uninjured leg back to the floor. Do 2 sets of 15. Balance and reach exercises: Stand next to a chair with your injured leg farther from the chair. The chair will provide support if you need it. Stand on the foot of your injured leg and bend your knee slightly. Try to raise the arch of this foot while keeping your big toe on the floor. 1. Keep your foot in this position. With the hand that is farther away from the chair, reach forward in front of you by bending at the waist. Avoid bending your knee any more as you do this. Repeat this 10 times. To make the exercise more challenging, reach farther in front of you. Do 2 sets of Stand in the same position as above. While keeping your arch height, reach the hand that is farther away from the chair across your body toward the chair. The farther you reach, the more challenging the exercise. Do 2 sets of 10. Jump rope: Jump rope landing on both legs for 5 minutes. Then jump landing on just 1 leg at a time for 5 minutes.

5 If you have access to a wobble board, do the following exercises: Wobble board exercises: 1. Stand on a wobble board with your feet shoulder width apart. Rock the board forwards and backwards 30 times, then side to side 30 times. Hold on to a chair if you need support. 2. Rotate the wobble board around so that the edge of the board is in contact with the floor at all times. Do this 30 times in a clockwise and then a counterclockwise direction. 3. Balance on the wobble board for as long as you can without letting the edges touch the floor. Try to do this for 2 minutes without touching the floor. 4. Rotate the wobble board in clockwise and counterclockwise circles, but do not let the edge of the board touch the floor. 5. When you have mastered exercises A through D, try repeating them while standing on just your injured leg. After you are able to do these exercises on one leg, try to do them with your eyes closed. Make sure you have something nearby to support you in case you lose your balance. Written by Tammy White, MS, PT, and Phyllis Clapis, PT, DHSc, OCS, for RelayHealth. Published by RelayHealth. Last modified: Last reviewed: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. Pediatric Advisor Index 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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