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Are You Pulling My Leg ?  What To Expect From Physical Therapy After An Ankle Sprain

By Jessica Lowy PT, DPT, CMTPT, DN, McKenzie A-D,  Advanced Schroth Certified SSOL

And Michal Porath PT, MPT, McKenzie A-D, Advanced Schroth Certified SSOL

As Spring time arrives people are getting out more, taking walks outside on uneven sidewalks, visiting parks, playing on sports fields and participating in more outdoor recreational activities. This time of year, we see a lot of ankle sprains due to deconditioning, in adults and adolescents, from lack of activity or exercise during the winter. 

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in rehabilitating ankle sprains and sports injuries. When someone has an appointment for an evaluation for physical therapy the first step is to assess the extent of the injury and identify the underlying issues along with forming appropriate goals for the patient.  Initially the focus is reducing pain and inflammation, using techniques such as myofascial release, soft tissue mobilization or even using modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stim, along with gentle exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility.  Initial exercises often involve simple stretches and small controlled motions.  Once the patient can tolerate more, strength exercises are progressed to help rebuild the muscles around the ankle and improve stability of the foot. These exercises will target muscles of the foot and ankle, but also muscles of the knee, hip and core to maximize motor function of the lower extremity as a whole.  Balance and proprioception (the body’s sense of its position in space) training is an essential component of rehab as well. Various exercises on unstable surfaces, like balance boards or foam pads, are important to challenge the body to re-learn to react on uneven terrain. As the patient progresses functional training will be incorporated into the exercises to mimic the movements that the patient performs during sports or daily activities. This is to ensure the ankle can handle the demands of the patient’s lifestyle.  This may involve a progressive increase in intensity and duration, with close monitoring for any signs of recurrence or overuse.  The physical therapist will also work on gait training, which include running mechanics to prevent compensatory movements that can lead to further injury and correct any abnormalities to promote a natural, efficient stride both in walking and running.

Throughout the physical therapy process the physical therapist will educate the patient on proper injury management, self-care techniques and strategies for injury prevention.  A personalized home exercise program will be prescribed to supplement the sessions and promote ongoing progress.  As the patient gains strength, flexibility and confidence in the ankle, our focus is to return them to their prior level of activity and recreation.  As someone is ready to be discharged from physical therapy it is essential to continue with a maintenance routine to keep your ankle strong and resilient.  Remember, every individual and every injury is unique, so your physical therapy program will be tailored to your specific needs and goals.  Consistency, patience, and communication with your therapist are key to achieving a full recovery and preventing future injuries.

At Prime Orthopedic Rehabilitation, we have both male and female therapists.  Our therapists all hold advanced certifications to help with your specific needs, including Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS) certifications for orthopedic specialties, McKenzie approach for spine, Schroth Certification for Scoliosis, Graston and John Barnes techniques for Myofascial Release, as well as LSVT (BIG) for Parkinson’s treatment, Vestibular rehab for dizziness, balance and vertigo, Strength and Conditioning certifications (CSCS) for Sports Rehab, as well as therapists certified in dry needling, cupping, and instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). We offer general outpatient physical and occupational therapy, both in our offices, in Tenafly and in Northvale, and In-Home.  Prime also has seventy 5-star google reviews and offers more one on one time than most other offices.  Call us today to ask how we can help you (201) 503-7173.

Jessica Lowy, DPT, CMTPT, DN, Mckenzie A-D, Advanced Schroth Therapist and Michal Porath, MPT, Mckenzie A-D, Advanced Schroth Therapist 

are owners of Prime Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Tenafly and Northvale, NJ. They treat all injuries in their clinic, in addition to general orthopedic and post surgical patients. Call (201) 503-7173 for an appointment.