Ankle injuries and sprains are increasingly common, especially within sports. They can often take some time to heal. Basic ligament care techniques and sometimes physical therapy sort the problem out. Most sprains will heal without surgery and with the right care. However, when an ankle sprain happens to a high level athlete the simple sprain can become devastating.
WHAT CAUSES AN ANKLE SPRAIN?
One great option to speed up the healing and recovery of an ankle sprain in the athlete is to use platelet rich plasma (PRP). These PRP injections provide an accelerant to natural healing. A sprain is either a stretch, tear or complete rupture of the normal joint ligaments that have the role of stabilising the ankle. Most ankle sprains occur on the outside of the ankle and are due to over stretching forces.
The human body has the powerful capability of healing tissue through a highly regulated process. The first stage of healing is called the inflammatory stage. At this time, the body forms a blood clot between the two pieces of torn ligament. The clot needs to stabilize and become still; then it can convert to fibrin or fibrous tissue. Later, tissue from the clot remodels into the normal tissue that is present at the tear. In the case of the ankle sprain, the anterior talofibular or calcaneofibular ligament will heal with normal, but thickened, ligamentous tissues.
HEALING: WHAT AFFECTS RECOVERY TIME?
During healing it is important that the ankle has the correct stability. Without this, the initial clot that is formed to heal the ligament or damaged tissues will become disrupted and then the body must start the process at the beginning again. In addition, rehabilitation should be started almost immediately. The studies available have shown that people, especially athletes, that have early rehab for ankle sprains have better long-term outcomes. The ankle is stronger and less likely to re-sprain with proper strength and rehabilitation. This is important for basic care such as swelling control, massage and pain relief. However, it is equally important to retrain the ankle with proper strength, flexibility and balance (muscular control). It is important that the therapist understands the sport and the athlete’s role. Each sport and position has unique physical requirements.
PRP CAN BE THE FASTEST WAY TO RECOVERY
PRP has been shown to speed up this entire healing and recovery process. For an athlete, speed of recovery is paramount. PRP can take the normal 6-week recovery period for a torn ligament from an ankle sprain and compress that to 2-3 weeks. PRP provides all of the components of healing that the body utilises during the rebuilding process, but in higher concentrations. In addition, PRP is placed directly into and/or around the target tissue. This provides a very accurate and highly concentrated injection of healing substances for the sprain. By injecting PRP for the treatment of an ankle sprain, it is possible to aid an athlete in healing much more quickly and stronger. The PRP should be done in conjunction with the normal treatments of bracing, taping, compression and therapy.
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