Did You Sprain Your Ankle?

13 Mar 2024

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Ankle sprains are incredibly common. I know. I sprained both of mine when I was in my teens. You have 26 bones in each foot, and there are 112 ligaments that hold them together.  When you sprain your ankle, it generally means you have injured one of seven major ligaments.


Three are on the outer part of your foot, and four are on the inner part. These three ligaments you see here are the commonly sprained ones on the outer part of your foot.  Particularly the one in Blue toward the front of the ankle.


When those ligaments get injured, the brain sends a message to the ankle joint to produce lots of fluid to make you slow down and not injure yourself further. When the ankle swells, it’s usually painful to walk. If the sprain is mild, your ankle may not visibly swell but will probably hurt to walk on. This is the motion that typically sprains the ligaments on the outside of the foot.


In addition to the ligaments on the outer of the ankle, these are the four ligaments that are regularly injured on the inner side of the ankle. The injuries on this side of the ankle often happen as people get older.


But if you are a very active person, young or old, you can easily sprain any of these ligaments. If you just leave the ankle alone, it will usually get better by itself, but you will likely be vulnerable to spraining it again and again.


To fully heal, treatment is usually necessary to get rid of all the scar tissue. A certain type of scar tissue, called adhesive scar tissue, is the primary reason that injuries don’t fully heal. If you don’t get rid of all that scar tissue, the ankle periodically sprains over and over again for many years.


A series of hands-on tests help identify which of these seven ligaments are injured. Once you precisely locate the injury, the treatment is not difficult. But if you are even off by a ¼ of an inch, the treatment doesn’t work. So, the therapist has to really know their anatomy and be skilled at assessment testing.


The treatment is only a little uncomfortable, but it ensures that the ligaments heal fully. When you have a sprained ankle, the muscles of the foot and lower leg weaken quickly. So, as the treatment progresses, my clients do a series of exercises to strengthen the ligaments and muscles involved in controlling ankle movement. The exercises also keep the scar tissue from reforming.


If you sprained your ankle a long time ago and it still hurts from time to time it means that the adhesive scar tissue has never been fully resolved. With time and patience, I can help you remove that adhesive scar tissue and help prevent future ankle injuries, as well as eliminate your pain.