The different ligaments in the foot
What Is A Sprained Joint & How Can Your Physio Help You With A Sprained Joint?
Here at Core we want to make sure that you are well educated on your body. In today’s blog, we will discuss what a sprained joint is, and how your Physio can help you.
Simply put, a sprain is when the ligaments supporting a particular joint have been injured. When this occurs, pain, swelling, and a reduced sense of stability can be the most obvious symptoms.
Typically a sprain will occur when a joint is forced into an end range movement in an unexpected fashion.
The best example of this would be ankle or knee injuries from a change of direction or landing activities.
Ligaments provide passive stability to a joint, while muscles provide dynamic control through range.
The different grades of sprains
The Rehabilitation Pathway for Grade 1-2 Are Very Similar.
Structurally, ligaments are similar to elastic bands. The fibres are tightly coiled and allow considerable movement before they are injured. Sprains are commonly graded from 1-3, with increasing levels of laxity and typically increasing levels of pain. Grade 1 has minor tearing, compared to a full tear of Grade 3. What is important to note is that even with a fully torn ligament you can still make a full return to sport by proper retraining to surrounding muscles.
Just like when you have a cut in the skin, treatment of a ligament sprain initially prioritises helping it ”stick back together”. So not stretching it in the same direction in which it was injured – just like you would avoid bending a cut finger in the wrong direction. Rigid strapping tape is often used to assist this.
In addition part of the function of ligaments in a joint is to transfer weight.
Using crutches as necessary to relieve this is often helpful. Reduce the amount of weight you are putting through a limb until the pain diminishes.
Reducing strenuous activity, starting early mobility, strength and balance exercises are key to ensure a properly rehabilitated joint.
Tissue healing can be facilitated by movement, which includes massage. Effleurage can help move away swelling and help circulation to normalise.
Transverse friction massage is often used as well. Muscles in the area can also be affected or sore because of lack of movement and releasing these can provide relief early on.
In the event of a Grade 3 tear this protocol remains the same, but depending on the ligament or your sporting levels surgery may also be considered. For most people we find that retraining the surrounding muscles to better detect and correct against extreme forces on a joint to be the main treatment component.
These Simple Exercises Are A Good Start To Self-Management Of A Simple Ankle Sprain:
- Walking as soon as you are able
- Tracing the alphabet with your toes
- One-legged calf-raises
- One-legged balance exercises
If you have recurrent strains to a joint talk to your Physio. A carefully prescribed program to work on balance and strength through your joint can be incredibly helpful at reducing recurrence rates of your sprain. For the sporting crowd, ask about any relevant injury prevention programs. Soccer, Netball and Aussie Rules all have publically accessible programs tailored around preventing lower limb injuries for amateur players. (Fitstop 2016)
For further information about sprains please contact one of our clinics today to make an appointment You can press the button that’s below to do so.
This blog was written by Erin Cruse from the Plympton Physio practice.