How To Recover From An Ankle or Knee Sprain

Have you recently suffered from an ankle or knee sprain? One day you are active and able to walk/run with ease and the next, you’re experiencing incredible pain emanating from your knee or ankle. After a thorough examination, you are diagnosed with an ankle or knee sprain. The question now is, how do you recover?

 

What is a Sprain?

 

Every joint in the body has bands of tissue that hold the joint together. These bands are called ligaments. When the ligaments turn outside of their normal range of motion, causing them to overstretch or tear, the injury is called a sprain. In ankles, the ligaments on the outside of the joint are the most likely to be injured. In knees, any of the ligaments can be injured because the knee rotates in several different ways.

 

The Three Phases of Recovery

Every ankle sprain or knee sprain has three phases of recovery. While healing takes between two weeks and two months, there is no magic formula for making the process go faster. However, systematically moving through these phases allows the joint to heal properly and reduces the likelihood of re-injuring the joint.

 

Phase 1: RICE

 

The first phase of joint recovery can be described with the acronym RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. This phase can last from a few days, up to a week in order to give the ankle or knee a chance to begin healing.

 

  • Rest your knee or ankle by not walking or running on it, using crutches if necessary.
  • Ice the knee or ankle for 20 minutes at a time to keep inflammation at a minimum. However, you should never put ice directly on the skin. Instead, wrap an ice pack in a thin cloth or pillowcase to prevent frostbite.
  • Compression can be achieved by using a brace or wrap on the injury. Not only does compression add support to a weakened joint, it reduces swelling as well.
  • Elevating the knee or ankle above the waist or the heart also reduces swelling in the joint. Prop it up on pillows, the arm of the couch, or another supportive, soft surface.

 

Phase 2: Increase Flexibility & Range of Motion

 

Once the swelling has begun to subside, you are ready to enter the next phase of recovery – increasing flexibility and range of motion in the joint. At this point, enlisting the help of a physical therapist can help restore strength and balance to your knee or ankle while decreasing the likelihood of re-injuring it in the process. A physical therapist can perform cross friction massage that ensures the ligaments will not improperly adhere to the bone. PT at this stage also involves several hands-on therapies that continue to control swelling and manage pain without the use of large doses of pain medications.

 

Phase 3: Restore Strength & Balance

 

Once the joint has begun to heal, a physical therapist can then prescribe strengthening exercises that will help restore your range of motion, strength, balance, and proprioception (the ability to sense where the joint is in space). Many people assume that once they are no longer in pain, they can go back to normal activities. In reality, physical therapy is the only way a person can achieve a full recovery from a knee or ankle sprain. A carefully constructed, supervised exercise program not only on helps to strengthen the ligaments holding the joint together, it also strengthens the muscles around the joint, preventing future injuries.

 

When done correctly, with physical therapy, recovering from a knee or ankle sprain can leave you as good as new in a few short weeks.

 

Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you are unsure of doing.

 

http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/how-to/foot-injury/Pages/How%20to%20Care%20for%20a%20Sprained%20Ankle.aspx

 

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAIL LISTDiscover the solution to pain-free living.
Sign up today for monthly health tips.

Our Reviews
Elaine Krause
Elaine Krause
18:18 11 Dec 19
I attended several of the Saturday workshops at OBTS to increase my knowledge as a yoga instructor. Noel’s informative presentations were tailored to meet the needs of those individuals who were present. I took advantage of the free assessment offered to the attendees, and chose to try PT to resolve a minor issue. The therapists did an excellent job correcting the problem quickly. Great team of professionals! Thank you!
Timothy Knopf
Timothy Knopf
20:18 30 Oct 19
Best therapy place around. I would recommend this place to everyone. They have the best group of therapists around.
Mitchell Udowitz
Mitchell Udowitz
20:43 27 Oct 19
I have been to two Physical Therapy places prior to finding Orthopedic & Balance Therapy in Valparaiso. While they were ok they don’t hold a candle to Orthopedic & Balance Therapy. OBT team works as one in harmony and they stay on top of the latest technology for their patients. Their team is so very knowledgeable and very friendly plus they generally care about what they are doing and it shows. They are concerned about the whole person not just the injury they need to be treated for.
Barbara Serynek
Barbara Serynek
18:52 03 Oct 19
The entire staff has been very pleasant, professional and accommodating. Both Kristen and Joe have given me the best massages. Kate and Kollin made sure that I was doing my excercises and helped to move things along. Feeling better every visit. I'm so glad that I chose Orthopedic & Balance.
Heidi Richardson
Heidi Richardson
17:00 19 Sep 19
I went to physical therapy not expecting it to do very much to help because that’s the way I approach everything with low expectations. Noel and his team have made my neck feel so much better that it puts me in a more positive mood each day and I actually feel more positive and more productive on a day-to-day basis..
Christine O'Donnell
Christine O'Donnell
16:26 14 Aug 19
I could barely walk into OBTS six weeks ago. I had very bad lower back and hip pain. The progress has been life changing for me. I always walk out of there with little or no pain. The staff, Laura, Dr Diane, Angie and, of course, Peggy, have taught me so much to keep my pain at bay. I highly recommend this team.
Nancy Guenther
Nancy Guenther
15:28 12 Jul 19
Absolutely awesome! My walking has improved 110%. And my pain level is zero. I highly recommend them. Go....you will be amazed how much better you feel.
Tracie Baxter
Tracie Baxter
20:24 03 Jul 19
This was the only place that could help with my TMJ. If you’re suffering from TMJ go see Noel! He really understands the condition. I no long have to deal with constant pain! The whole staff at this office is amazing and very welcoming.
Cindy Standiford
Cindy Standiford
21:33 28 Jun 19
The whole team is great!! I’m getting great care! I recommend Orthopedic & Balance for any issues you might have.
Joseph Mulholland
Joseph Mulholland
19:53 09 May 19
Amazing staff and amazing care. I came in barely able to stand up straight due to a back injury. After 6 weeks, I feel like brand new. Everyone was extremely helpful and easy to work with. Highly recommended!
Trool u
Trool u
19:44 24 Apr 19
I am a PTA student that was required 16 hours of observation time. I had the pleasure of completing my hours at this Valpo location. The staff is incredibly friendly. They were quick to make me feel at home. In a way I was sad to leave, but happy to continue on. I hope to eventually work in this field with a work family this caring and knowledgeable about their profession.
sharon Kramer
sharon Kramer
16:23 18 Apr 19
My experience has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience in getting me to feeling better. The staff does a remarkable job and are fully qualified in their respective areas. The staff made it fun coming here and they were very caring and helpful with their clients!!
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
See All Reviews