Rest is one of the most difficult things to do as it is difficult for most people to take a break from the activities. Rest gives our body time to recover and lets the ligaments have a break in terms of supporting the body. If the ankles are sore, then take a few days off. If there is mild to moderate pain, it may be beneficial to take rest for 1-2 weeks.
Cold therapy or cryotherapy relieves pain, by applying an ice pack to the ankle for 10 minutes twice or thrice a day. Ice therapy helps reduce swelling or inflammation which can lead to pain relief.
Compression is important as it helps prevent inflammation in the area. Wrap the ankle with the elastic wrap or use a compression ice wrap that both compresses and applies cold therapy.
The affected leg is kept in elevation above the heart to assist gravity to reduce excessive swelling around the ankle.
The patient may feel instability while walking or standing, therefore wearing an ankle brace can help support the weak ankles. An ankle brace provides moderate protection during sports. These can help steady the ankle while walking and also prevent additional ankle sprains that lead to chronic ankle instability. In severe cases, a custom-made orthosis may be recommended.
Kinesio taping helps to provide mechanical support for ankle instability.
Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TENS):
Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation is effective in decreasing swelling, spasms, and pain.
Therapeutic ultrasound decreases pain, and swelling and thus improves function, and enhances the healing process.
Muscle flexibility exercises:
Stretching exercises are done to increase the flexibility in the ankle, Exercises that help by increasing the range of motion also help to improve balance, and strengthen the surrounding muscles. Exercises like tracing the letters of the alphabet with the foot, making small to large circles inwards and outwards, standing on one foot to improve balance, increasing difficulty, standing on one foot on a balance ball or Bosu ball, and strengthening with an elastic band are the recommended exercises.
Calf, ankle, and foot muscles require strengthening to provide normal dynamic ankle control and function. Strengthening exercises should be gradually progressed from non-weight bearing to partial and then full weight-bearing and resistance-loaded exercises.
Proprioception and Agility exercises:
Balance and proprioception are also affected by ankle instability. The physiotherapist guides the patient to improve their performance. Depending on the type of sport or lifestyle, balance and proprioception programs are designed to prepare the patient for light sports training. Further vigorous training is progressed to jogging, jumping, running and sport-specific drills involving high-intensity exercises.