A medial ankle sprain is a ligament injury affecting the structures on the inner side of the ankle and it mostly happens when you roll your ankle outwards. It is not very common to roll your ankle outwards as compared to rolling it inwards or a lateral ankle sprain. Structures on the inner side of the ankle include three major ligaments:
The largest and sturdiest ligament on the medial side of the ankle is called the deltoid ligament. It joins the talus, calcaneus, and navicular bones of the foot to the medial malleolus, a bony protrusion on the inside of the ankle.
The medial malleolus and the navicular bone of the foot are joined by the Tibionavicular ligament.
Treatment for Medial Ankle Sprain
Rest is a very crucial step when recovering from an ankle sprain because it promotes tissue healing, reduces swelling, and shields the injured ankle from further harm. Resting allows the injured tissues to start healing without being put under additional stress or strain, which lessens the amount of weight bearing on the injured ankle.
Resting the ankle also helps avoid the development of scar tissue, which can happen if the injured tissues are subjected to repeated stress or strain while they are healing. Scar tissue may be rigid and inflexible, limiting the range of motion and increasing the risk of chronic pain and ankle instability.
Due to its ability to ease discomfort and reduce swelling and inflammation in the injured area, ice is frequently used as a treatment for ankle sprains. Ankle sprains can cause pain and swelling because the soft tissues surrounding the joint may sustain damage.
Ice can help to reduce blood flow to the injured area and help to constrict blood vessels which are followed by dilation of the blood vessels allowing more blood to rush. This phenomenon is called the Lewis hunting reaction., which can help to lessen pain and inflammation.
Using an Elastic bandage or wearing an ankle binder is usually recommended, but only in a grade 1 ankle sprain or a mild sprain. Compression helps by stabilizing the joint in place and avoiding further damage by stretching the already-pulled ligaments.
Compression does not allow swelling to accumulate as it applies constant pressure around the affected area making it less possible for the swelling to accumulate and flow back into the lymphatic system r drainage system of the body.
Elevation works by utilizing gravity to promote the flow of fluid away from the affected area, elevating your leg helps reduce swelling in the ankle. Elevating your leg causes it to be raised above the level of your heart. In this position, gravity can draw extra fluid away from the injured ankle and reduce swelling.
Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be recommended to help manage pain and reduce inflammation.
By preventing the injured ligaments and tendons from being further harmed by movement, immobilization can aid in the treatment of ankle sprains. The ligaments that support the ankle joint are frequently stretched or torn during an ankle sprain.
Movement can make an already painful and inflamed injury to these ligaments worse and prevent them from healing. A splint, cast, or walking boot can be used to immobilize a patient. These gadgets prevent the ankle joint from moving, supporting, and stabilizing the injured area.
7. Physical Therapy
A physical therapist can provide exercises to help improve the range of motion, strength, and stability of the ankle. Here are some exercises that may be helpful:
- Range of motion exercises: This approach is the best during the initial stages of rehab and is only advised in grade 1 or mild ankle sprains. ROM exercises are free range of motion exercises performed to maintain the available range of motion and to avoid stiffness and pain from increasing. ROM exercises include Ankle circles, ankle pumps (up and down movement)
- Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises are usually initiated in the second or third week of rehab and it is completely based on the discretion of the physiotherapist. Starting with isometrics and then moving onto weight bearing or loaded exercises.
- Ankle Eversion: Place the outside of your foot against a rigid object or a wall and then turn your foot against the wall and hold that for 5 seconds, repeat 15 times and do 2 sets of this particular exercise.
- Ankle Inversion: Place the inside of your foot against a rigid object or a wall and then turn your foot against the wall and hold that for 5 seconds, repeat 15 times and do 2 sets of this particular exercise.
- Ankle Plantarflexion: Place a ball on the floor against a wall, then sit down facing the wall. Rest your forefoot and toes against the ball with your knee straight. Press the forefoot against the ball for 5 seconds, then relax the foot. Repeat 15 times and perform 2 sets.
- Ankle Dorsiflexion: Place one foot on top of your other foot. Resist moving your foot upwards against the weight of your other feet and hold this for 5 seconds, repeat 15 times, and perform 2 sets.
Weight-bearing exercises include Seated heel raises, standing calf or heel raises, walking on your toes, and walking on your heels. If you are still not ready to weight bear your physio might ask you to do all of these exercises in water (aqua therapy).
Also Read: Sprained Ankle Vs Broken Ankle
Your body’s capacity to understand its location in space is known as proprioception. As an illustration, keep your arm extended to the side and parallel to the ground while gazing straight ahead. Next, bend your elbow 90 degrees and look at where your arm is resting. It is probably bent at a right angle and somewhat out to the side.
But how did your brain position your arm without you having to look at it? That is proprioception! These exercises involve balance and coordination tasks that challenge the body’s awareness of joint position and movement. Examples include standing on one foot with eyes closed or walking on a balance beam. Some examples of Proprioceptive exercises are:
- Single-leg standing with your eyes open and closed
- Single-leg standing with upper extremity motions
- Single-leg standing on various unsteady surfaces
- Using a Bosu ball or a wobble board.
- The T-Stance exercise
- Tandem walking
Hi, I am Parth Chowtia, an MSK/Sports Physiotherapist with a degree in Sports Medicine from Leeds Beckett University, UK. I have five years of experience working with top brands and like to share guides on preventing and managing injuries resulting from sports and exercise participation at all ages and levels of ability.