Health blog

Why should I go to physical therapy before walking on a sprained ankle?

October 4th, 2021
Should I Walk on a Sprained Ankle

All ankle sprains are not created equally. There are three grades of ankle sprains. People with grade one sprains should be able to walk in less time than people with grade two or three sprains. One medical professional who can help you determine if you should walk on a sprained ankle yet is a physical therapist. 

Three reasons you should see a physical therapist before walking on a sprained ankle

Trying to figure out when you should walk on a sprained ankle is more complicated than you think. The National Institutes of Health report that ankles with sprains that don’t involve ligament tears can heal in about two weeks. However, sprains that involve torn ligaments can take two or even three years to heal completely. A physical therapist can help you figure out where you fall in this range and when you can safely begin walking again. They can help you by: 

  1. Diagnosing your sprain’s severity — One of the first real indications people have about how long it will take to walk on a sprained ankle is the grade of the strain. Physical therapists can perform a comprehensive physical evaluation of your ankle. From this, they can determine if you have a grade one, two or three strain. 
  1. Strengthening your injured ankle — An ankle strain can leave your ankle ligaments weak and unable to properly support your weight. That’s a problem because it can leave you open to future ankle sprains or other ankle problems. Your physical therapist can show you therapeutic exercises designed to help restore the flexibility and strength of your ankle ligaments. They can also help build up strength in lower leg muscles that help support your ankle, which can help ease the stress on your healing ligament. 
  1. Preventing long-term damage — If you don’t get help for your injury or you walk on it too soon, you may develop chronic ankle instability (CAI). This issue occurs in about 40% of people who sprain their ankle according to one medical study. Physical therapists can help your ankle heal properly, which can decrease your risk of developing CAI. 

Not sure if you should walk on a sprained ankle yet? Rehab Access can help

At Rehab Access Physical Therapy, our physical therapists have helped many people with sprained ankles. This experience combined with our experts’ knowledge of the ankle structures allows them to help you determine when you should walk on a sprained ankle. You can take your first step toward recovery by coming into one of our clinics so we can do a free screening of your ankle. Then, our physical therapists can create a treatment plan for you that’s personalized to fit your injury and your recovery goals. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help you recover from a sprained ankle or to schedule an initial appointment.