Ankle sprains have a high prevalence in the general population (61 sprains per 10,000 persons each year) and account for 30% of all sports injuries. 5-33% of people have persistent symptoms months to years after initial injury, even more so if rehabilitation is delayed. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to take care of ankle sprains immediately.
This first phase of injury is called the acute phase, which lasts about 2 weeks from the initial injury.
- Goals in this early stage are:
- Protect tissues from further injury
- Encourage healing
- Limit pain, swelling, and spasm
- Maintain function of non-injured tissues
In rehab, we like to use the “P-O-L-I-C-E” principle for early treatment of acute ankle sprains:
O-L: Optimal Loading
“Optimal loading” is particularly important to promote healing and prevent delays in returning to normal. The good news: physical therapists can provide guidance throughout every stage of rehab. However, addressing pain and dysfunction in the acute phase is essential to kickstart a healthy and rewarding recovery.
And remember… no limping allowed!
For more resources from our experts on ankle sprain, click here.