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Can Physical Therapy Treat My Child's Ankle Sprain?

Can Physical Therapy Treat My Child's Ankle Sprain?

Ankle sprains are a common orthopedic injury for people of all ages, including children. Recovery from a sprain depends largely on the severity of the original injury, and physical therapy is usually a part of treatment. 

The foot and ankle specialists at 360 Orthopedics can diagnose ankle sprains and develop an injury-appropriate treatment plan for your child, which includes physical therapy. This is an important part of building strength and support to help prevent future sprains. 

What happens when an ankle is sprained?

Ankle sprains occur when a foot rolls over on its outside edge. This can happen during play or sports participation, but your child doesn’t need to be active to suffer a sprain. Sometimes, stepping awkwardly is enough to cause this sideways turning motion. 

This motion overextends or tears ligament tissue on the outside of the ankle. Sprains can be mild to severe, though this injury is very common in children, and severe sprains are somewhat rare. 

Treating ankle sprains

While physical therapy plays an important role in recovering from an ankle sprain, it’s not a first-line treatment immediately after the injury. First, your child must heal to the point where they can comfortably put weight on the injured ankle. 

During the first few days after the injury, follow the RICE strategy for soft tissue injuries. RICE is a mnemonic for the steps of care the ankle needs. 

Treatment in the first two or three days after a sprain allows the body time to heal. Rest during this time is critical to reduce the risk of re-injury. 

Adding physical therapy

Once your child can support weight on their injured ankle without sharp pain, they’re ready to start exercising the foot. Waiting longer before beginning physical therapy can be counterproductive if the ankle starts to stiffen from lack of use. 

Our physicians can suggest simple exercises such as foot circles or foot pushes, movements that place no weight on the ankle but gently return movement to muscles and soft tissue in the area. Minor pain may increase at first. Severe pain means that they require more resting time. 

Partner with us at 360 Orthopedics to ensure your child stays on the right road to recovery. Depending on their general health and the extent of the sprain, your child should be pain-free and back to normal within two weeks. 

Call the nearest of our three locations to book your visit today. 

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