With an ankle strain, also known synonymously as “ankle sprain”, there might have been a few fibers of the tibiotalar ligament that were torn and a few days or 1 or 2 weeks of ankle taping, ankle splint or ankle support brace to support the ankle followed by strengthening exercises with or without the help of a physiotherapist for 2 or 3 weeks is all that is required to regain full strength and function.
In a more serious case of ankle strain (sprain) a walking cast might be put on for 2 or 3 weeks to allow the torn ligaments to heal prior to mobilization. When the patient comes out of the cast, it is normal to feel stiff, and the pain when mobilization is started is normal. It is something that has to be worked through. This is where some patients who have a low pain threshold have a hard time with mobilization. However, if they do not do this, there is a high risk of developing a complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS I), which would then have to be treated with a sympathetic nerve block and intensive physiotherapy. Putting the ankle into a warm foot bath for 10 minutes and then mobilizing it is also a good way to loosen up the tired muscles and tendons prior to exercise.
1.The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 49.
2. Goldman: Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 21st ed.(©2000)W.B.Saunders
3. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc.
4. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier
5 . Wheeless’ Textbook of Orthopaedics: http://www.wheelessonline.com/ Several topics can be found under this link by entering the term you search for.
6. Suzanne Somers: “Breakthrough” Eight Steps to Wellness– Life-altering Secrets from Today’s Cutting-edge Doctors”, Crown Publishers, 2008