Ankle sprains are a relatively common injury. This often happens when someone is playing sports, but can certainly occur during everyday activities. An inversion sprain is the most common and results from landing on the outside of the foot resulting in a sudden twisting injury.

Signs or symptoms Swelling, bruising, and pain are typical after an ankle sprain.

Causes Again, this can be caused by a sudden twisting of the ankle if your foot lands on the ground the wrong way. But if this happens during everyday activities, there was mostly likely an imbalance in the coordination of the ankle muscles to begin with.

Standard Treatment Generally this includes rest, ice, and elevation of the ankle during the immediate or acute stage. Additionally, taping the ankle and anti-inflammatory medications may be used. After the acute stage calms down a patient may go through a physical therapy regimen of stretching and strengthening, and proprioceptive training such as the use of a balance or wobble board. If there is a complete tear of any ligament(s), surgery would be warranted.

Applied Kinesiology Treatment Restoring proper muscle function is paramount in achieving immediate and lasting results. Usually the muscles on the outside of the lower leg (the peronei) are injured and neurologically inhibited or “weak”. Getting these muscles to function appropriately is essential, as it is often the initial reason the ankle got sprained in the first place. This can be done through treatment directly to the muscles as well as through restoring normal ankle joint function. Additionally, the skin overlying the ankle very often requires treatment; as the stretching of it during the injury causes the neurological receptors in the skin to adversely affect the function of the adjacent muscles. After the inhibited muscles have been treated, it is often necessary to correct imbalances in muscles that have reflexively tightened or shortened as a result of compensation. This is done through specific techniques that address trigger points in muscles. Foot, ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, and spinal joints should then be evaluated to ensure proper motion. Joint dysfunction is corrected through standard chiropractic adjustments. Techniques to help restore ligament function and integrity may also be warranted. And lastly, nutritional support to aid in healing and help control inflammation may be indicated.

As you can see, there are a number of different techniques that can be employed to treat people with this condition, and what is used will depend on the individual. In my experience working with patients, many people re-sprain the same ankle multiple times. This is usually because the original sprain was never treated effectively. Please understand that being out of pain does not mean that optimal function has been restored. So don’t ignore an old (or new) injury.

Before I finish, I’d like to share a case about a patient with an old ankle injury. A gentleman in his mid-40’s came in because of a lumbar (low-back) disc herniation he suffered from chopping wood. He couldn’t stand up straight because of the pain. After several treatments he was out of pain, however, he still wasn’t standing up straight. We continued treating him, but his posture just would not budge. Again, he was out of pain, but he really was like the crooked man living in the crooked house. At some I decided to look further; specifically to his feet. At that point he remembered having suffered a sprained ankle some twenty years earlier. I immediately addressed his ankle biomechanics and he finally straightened up. In fact, because his ankle had been distorted for so long, he needed a heel lift inserted in his shoe as well. It may have been possible to help him without a heel lift, but it would have taken quite a while to reverse the compensations that had set in after twenty years. I would have went for the “crutch” of a heel lift as well if I couldn’t stand up straight!

It’s very common to see old injuries cause problems later in life.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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