For many people, an ankle ligament injury may sound like something that only affects athletes or those that are regularly very physically active. However, this type of very common injury can affect just about anyone. A ligament is a piece of tissue found in the body that is very elastic but very strong, that connects various bones in the body.
In the ankle, ligaments connect the lower leg bones to the foot bones, which is what makes motion possible. Ankle injuries are not uncommon, specifically injuries to the ligaments – which can be stretched too far, causing minimal damage such as microscopic and very fine tears or major damage like ruptures and complete tears. Ligament injury treatment depends on many things including severity, impact and overall physical condition, and these factors determine the best ways to treat and not to treat foot injuries related to the ankle. Below are some do’s and don’ts for an ankle ligament injury treatment to follow that may possibly help reduce healing time along with discomfort, too!
DO Rest the Injury: There are many types of health conditions and injuries where keeping the damaged or injured body part active can actually be beneficial. However, this is not the case when a ligament injury is present. Not resting the affected appendage may lead to further damage and a worsening in painful symptoms.
DON’T Be Afraid to Use Crutches: Keeping the weight off of the affected foot when mobility is necessary is important, and there is nothing wrong with using support devices to do so. The purpose of crutches is to promote movement without furthering injury, so they may be ideal in the case of ligament damage.
DO Use Ice: Cryotherapy in physiotherapy is one of the most accepted forms of initial treatment, which explains why many injuries are often first treated with ice packs (or even a bag of frozen peas). This is because the cold can greatly reduce pain and discomfort and can help to reduce swelling and inflammation (which is very commonly a source of pain).
DON’T Forget to Elevate: Elevation may not seem important in the case of a ligament injury, but the underlying effects of keeping the affected area above the area of the heart are certainly applicable here. When the ankle that has been injured is raised above heart level, swelling can be reduced, and swelling is often a major source of discomfort following a ligament injury.
DO Consider Alternative Treatments: In the case of a slight sprain, home care for just a day or two may be suitable treatment for minor ankle injuries. However, more serious cases of ankle ligament damage can be harder to treat. Before looking to surgery and pain pills, it may be worthwhile to consider in these situations harnessing the same benefits of ice packs and bagged peas in a much more powerful package via cryotherapy cold sauna. The method has been popularized by professional athletes who have found that the whole body cryotherapy procedure in which supercooled gas is applied externally to the skin for short periods of time not only provided rapid recovery following performance, but also a seriously sensational treatment for many sports related injuries. By boosting the immune system in response to the extreme cold, reducing inflammation and stimulating pain-relieving physiological responses, Whole Body Cryotherapy provides natural pain relief that is not only safe, but provides other body benefits as well.
DON’T Forget Compresses: Although perhaps one of the first types of treatment when an injury to the knees has occurred, compresses can be completely forgotten about when an ankle ligament injury has taken place. The reason why compression is important is because it promotes immobility, which can not only help provide support but also prevent further injury from taking place.
DO See A Doctor for Evaluation if Injury is Serious: Minor sprains and strains are not uncommon, but some damage to the foot and ankle may not seem serious but can lead to problems down the road. In addition to the potential for further injuries or repeating the same injuries again and again, other problems like weakness in the ankles and arthritis may also develop.
When it comes to a ligament injury classified as a sprain, it will typically fall into one of three categories – severe, moderate or mild depending on the extent of the injury and how much damage to the ligament has occurred. How to best treat the injury starts with its severity level. Mild cases are almost always appropriately cared for at home with rest, ice, compression and elevation (although these are important treatment steps for a ligament injury of any type). Moderate injuries may require more immobilization and a more prolonged healing time followed by physical therapy and other treatment methods such as Whole Body Cryotherapy which may be considered for these mid-grade injuries to help lessen healing time. Severe sprains where tears or ruptures have occurred may call for surgical repair. But they don’t always – especially if the ligament injury is properly cared for at onset including an evaluation from a health care provider, proper home care and attention and the use of alternative or new medical technologies, all which have the potential to negate the need for surgery altogether in some cases.