A sprained ankle is a common injury where the ligaments in the joint overstretch or tear. This usually happens when the ankle and foot move in opposite directions. Sprained ankles are common injuries in people who plays a sport that requires rapid direction changes or tackles, like soccer. Ankle sprains are graded according to severity, with Grade I indicating stretched ligaments, Grade II indicating a partial tear in the ligaments and Grade III is a fully torn ligament.
When an ankle fractures, a break occurs in the bone. Most of the time fractures are simple, or hairline cracks in the bone. However, occasionally there is a more serious or compound break, where the bone fully breaks or sometimes shatters. This is a serious injury and will need medical attention and physical therapy to rebuild strength and restore flexibility and range of motion following the initial healing process.
Achilles tendinitis is a condition where the tendon in the ankle begins to break down and causes an inflammatory response in the surrounding tissue. This injury is common in those who participate in repetitive activities such as running and jumping, wearing improper footwear or training on the uneven or excessively hard ground. Tendinitis can also occur if the tendon begins to break down with general wear and tear as a person grows older.
Treatment depends on the problem or injury. With most injuries, the joint will need to begin to heal before physical therapy can begin to rebuild strength and flexibility. During that time, patients are usually advised to use the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Once the ankle is healed enough to begin therapy, your therapist will examine your ankle to determine the best course of treatment. Most therapies will aim to rebuild strength and flexibility to support further healing and also to prevent future injuries due to weakness. Some of the exercises and treatments will restore range of motion. Some will build strength. Other exercises will increase your body awareness and improve your balance. The therapist may also suggest functional training to get you back to your normal activity levels.