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So you’ve rolled your ankle?

Published: March 25, 2022

So, you’ve rolled your ankle?

Here’s what you need to know.

Swelling almost always means damage and injury.

The longer the swelling hangs around, the worse the injury.

Ligament injuries are called sprains. Muscle injuries refer to a strain.

Both involve some degree of tear and trauma, albeit microscopic.

Your Chiropractor can help you manage a sprained ankle.

‘Literature on the chiropractic management of lower extremity conditions has a large number of case studies’ [1]

One study showed significant short-term reduction in pain and the number of joint restrictions in the short-term when compared with rehabilitation alone. [2]

There are 3 grades of ankle sprain:

Grade one: Swelling, bruising, possibly heat; You are able to place weight on the foot; 7-10 days healing time with treatment.

Grade two: As above but more extensive. You require assistance to work, may require crutches, can walk with a limp; 2-3 weeks healing time with treatment.

Grade three: As above but even more extensive. Complete rupture of a ligament or tendon. May require surgery. You cannot place any weight on the foot. You definitely require crutches. 6 weeks plus healing time with treatment. Sports Chiropractors are well positioned to help manage Grade 1 and 2 sprains.

At Back In Motion, Cranbourne we often use a treatment called interferential, a low frequency electrical stimulation of nerves.

It greatly enhances healing.; ice in the first 72 hours; gentle mobilization techniques; spinal manipulation to deal with any compensations; specific exercises.

There are 4 main clinical applications for which interferential appears to be useful:

· Pain relief

· Muscle stimulation

· Increased local blood flow

· Reduction of oedema.

· Stimulating healing and repair [3]

In the first 72 hours basic first Aid is the best treatment, i.e. RICE. Ice in the first 72 hours; gentle mobilization techniques; spinal manipulation to deal with any compensations; specific exercises.

After this time your Chiropractor can help with gentle mobilization techniques to the foot and ankle joints. This is necessary at least with-in the first week to avoid the inflammation causing joint stiffness and other problems. Your Chiropractor may recommend home exercises, e.g. drawing the alphabet with your foot; using a wobble board; soaking in soda crystals.

Finally, it is important your Chiropractor manages your knees and spine as you will be compensating abnormally whilst your ankle is healing.


[1] Hoskins W et al, Chiropractic Treatment of Lower Extremity Conditions: A Literature Review, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 29, Issue 8, October 2006, Pages 658-671

[2] Lubbe D et al, Manipulative Therapy and Rehabilitation for Recurrent Ankle Sprain With Functional Instability: A Short-Term, Assessor-Blind, Parallel-Group Randomized Trial, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2015, Pages 22-34


About the Author: Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor and Director of Back In Motion Cranbourne.