Lateral ankle sprains (LAS) account for 10-30% of all sports injuries, and are also common in non-athletic populations. Recurrent LAS are common, and evidence suggests that those with previous sprains are twice as likely to have repeated injuries.
Many people who have LAS are not adequately rehabilitated to overcome their current injury or to prevent re-injury. In fact, most are not rehabilitated or educated at all. Medical literature supports conservative treatment with early functional rehabilitation for LAS. When compared to control groups, LAS patients who undergo an active supervised rehab program that includes manual therapy techniques demonstrate significantly improved function, reduced pain, and have about a 30% reduction in recurrent sprains. The links below are articles that support these claims:
Cleland, et al., 2013
Van Ochten, Van Middlekoop, Meuffels, & Bierma-Zeinstra, 2014
The primary goals of LAS rehabilitation is rapid pain relief, full restoration of range of motion, and proprioception, thereby restoring full activity as soon as possible.
I advocate a four-part rehabilitation program for the treatment of LAS.
I use the Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) to measure the results of my rehab efforts. This is a self-report questionnaire scored from 0 (very low function) to 80 (very high function). The LAS patients I have treated had an average initial score on the LEFS of 43/80 and the average final LEFS rose to 67/80. The average number of visits to achieve these results was 10.
McKenzie, R., & May, S. (2000). The Human Extremities: Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. Wellington, New Zealand: Spinal Publications New Zealand Ltd.
Van Ochten, J. M., Van Middlekoop, M., Meuffels, D., & Bierma-Zeinstra, S. M. (2014). Chronic Complaints After Ankle Sprains: A Systematic Review on Effectiveness of Treatments. JOSPT, 44(11), 862-871.
Cleland, J., Mintken, P., McDevitt, A., Bieniek, M., Carpenter, K., Kulp, K., et al. (2013). Manual physical therapy and exercise versus supervised home exercise in the management of patients with inversion ankle sprain: A multicenter randomized clinical trial. JOSPT, 443-455.
Don Stover PT
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Thanks for visiting my blog page. My name is Don Stover. I am a seasoned physical therapist in Oklahoma City OK. with over 20 years in the biz. I have a lot of knowledge and training in orthopedic PT and spine care. I will be sharing my thoughts on physical therapy for orthopedic problems such as spinal pain, extremity joint pain, sports injuries, health/fitness, and life in general. I hope you enjoy reading!
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