Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Treatment and Prevention of Acute and Recurrent Ankle Sprains

January 21, 2017

ankle sprain-treatments-prevention-physical therapy

Ankle sprains remain one of the most common orthopedic injuries seen in both physician and Physical Therapy offices.  The majority of these injuries occur when the foot and ankle roll inward under the shin.  Previously, a program of P.R.I.C.E. (protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation) was prescribed but new research has shown this strategy may help in the short term but may contribute to the high rates of chronic symptoms in this injury group.  The key missing component from the P.R.I.C.E. approach is the absence of manual therapy and focused exercise treatments designed to accelerate the healing progress and return of function.

Recently, a review article of the available evidence was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine describing the most effective treatments and prevention strategies on ankle sprains (Doherty et al. 2017).  The authors compiled data from 46 previous research papers and found strong evidence supporting early mobilization with manual therapy and exercise after an ankle sprain injury.  Further, the authors reported strong evidence for bracing and moderate evidence for balance and proprioception training in the prevention of future injury.  Patients and athletes are advised to work with a local Physical Therapist to both accelerate their recovery from ankle sprains and reduce their risk of injury recurrence.