Ankle sprains are among the most common musculoskeletal injuries chiropractors see. The ankle rolls or twists, forcibly stretching or tearing the ligaments that hold the ankle in place. Depending on the circumstances, a sprain can range from mild to severe.
At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, we have several techniques for successfully treating sprained ankles. In this article, Part 2 of the ankle sprain series, we will discuss how we treat these injuries. But, first, we’ll give you a summary of the injury grades from Part 1.
Ankle Sprains: Levels of Severity
When the ankle rolls or twists out of place, the nature of the cause determines the level of damage. Ankle sprains are classified into three levels of severity or grades:
- Grade 1 (Mild): Ligaments are slightly overstretched, and collagen fibers are likely not torn. There is some swelling and soreness. The ankle can still hold your weight, and you can still walk.
- Grade 2 (Moderate): The ligaments are partially torn. There is moderate swelling and bruising, decreased range of motion, and instability. It may be challenging to hold your entire weight.
- Grade 3 (Severe): A ligament or ligaments are fully torn. The area is extremely painful, and swelling and bruising are extensive. The ankle is unstable, and you cannot put any weight on it.
Ankle Sprain Treatment Guidelines
Treatment for ankle sprains often adheres to the following guidelines:
- Grade 1 (Mild): Support devices such as casts or splints are unnecessary. The chiropractor recommends exercises that strengthen the ankle.
- Grade 2 (Moderate): The patient wears a splint or brace to immobilize the ankle. They receive physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the ankle and improve their range of motion.
- Grade 3 (Severe): The ankle is immobilized, and physical therapy is longer and more extensive than Grade 2. Grade 3 injuries may require surgery.
Traditional treatment guidelines for a sprained ankle include an easy-to-remember PEACE & LOVE acronym. This method includes elements of both rehabilitation and management, emphasizing the importance of patient education in a successful recovery. Here’s a brief summary:
- Protection: minimize movements that aggravate the injury.
- Elevation: elevate the ankle higher than the heart.
- Avoid anti-inflammatories: anti-inflammatories reduce healing.
- Compression: reduce swelling with an elastic bandage or taping.
- Education: let your body heal naturally. Don’t overdo other treatments.
- Load: pay attention to your body’s reaction as you gradually return to regular activities.
- Optimism: maintain an optimistic attitude. Stay confident and positive.
- Vascularization: increase blood flow to the injured area by engaging in cardiovascular activities that won’t irritate the injury.
- Exercise: take an active approach to your recovery by exercising. It will improve your mobility and strength.
Ankle Sprain Treatment at Bergen Chiropractic
Your chiropractor is the ideal practitioner to treat any ankle sprain grade. At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our clinicians draw from various evidence-based techniques to design a unique ankle sprain treatment plan for each patient. The right combination of techniques ensures complete healing with fast ankle sprain healing time.
We take a more aggressive, research-based approach to treating and healing ankle sprains. We begin by removing the pain-causing swelling of the injured ligament. Then, we continue with soft tissue treatments and rehabilitation. We only use ice in the most severe cases. The taping techniques developed by Bergen Chiropractic’s Dr. Gregory Doerr stabilize the injured ligaments and prevent further strain while healing.
Soft Tissue Treatments
After assessing the circumstances and severity of the injury, we build a treatment plan for which we select soft tissue techniques that will yield the best results.
The Graston Technique is a type of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM). It uses stainless steel tools to detect and break down scarring. This technique has been clinically proven to quickly achieve more favorable outcomes.
Active Release Technique (ART)
This movement-based technique treats muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves restrictions. We use our hands to evaluate the soft tissue’s texture, tone, tightness, and restrictions. Then, we treat the injuries by combining directionally specific soft tissue contacts with several tissue-selective movement patterns.
FAKTR (Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehabilitation, Provocation, and Motion)
FAKTR combines soft tissue treatments, resistance training, and exercises to produce faster results than traditional methods. Patients often report noticeable improvements after their first treatment. FAKTR was developed by Dr. Gregory Doerr, DC, of Bergen Chiropractic, and Thomas E Hyde, DC, in 2002:
- Neurologically, it stimulates nervous system pathways to normalize over or underactive muscles. It reboots the nervous system to restore proper function.
- Structurally, this treatment increases the proliferation of healing cells and remodels injured tissues into a healthy condition.
- For vascular and microcirculatory issues, we direct blood flow to the injured and sensitive areas to reduce swelling and bruising. This turns soft tissue treatments into anti-inflammatory treatments.
Several taping techniques help support the injury and promote faster healing. Again, the technique used depends on the nature and severity of the injury.
- Kinesio Taping tapes over and around the injured area reducing pain, improving muscular function, decreasing swelling and bruising, and allowing full range of motion.
- SpiderTech Tape integrates with the body’s nervous system. There are three types of application: neurosensory (stimulates skin receptors and decreases the perception of pain), structural (prevents an injurious range of motion), and microcirculatory (creates pressure to sweep away chemical irritants, swelling, and bruising; improves blood flow).
- Specific Proprioceptive Response Taping (SPRT) supports the healing injury while allowing a good range of motion.
- Functional Taping is Dr. Doerr’s signature method. He developed a testing procedure that gives the chiropractor solid evidence to determine whether taping is necessary and which techniques will produce results.
As always, we treat our patients without the need for medications.
We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ!
Ankle sprains may be common injuries, but while not permanently debilitating, they can temporarily bring you pain and disruption in your life. They can interrupt the athletes’ ability to train and participate in sports.
The Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center offers a wide range of research-based, drug-free treatments that improve patient outcomes more quickly compared to traditional treatments. Through soft tissue treatments, taping, or a combination of techniques, we will get you back on your feet, healed and pain-free, in as little time as possible.
To give you an idea of how our techniques work, we invite you to watch Dr. Doerr’s demonstration videos: