Prevention is the Best Medicine for Sprains - In Sports and Beyond

Prevention is the Best Medicine for Sprains - In Sports and Beyond

With kids going back to school and many resuming sports team activities, the new guidelines from the National Athletic Trainers Association seem worth highlighting. Based on very high grade evidence-based research, the guidelines emphasize the importance proper conditioning before resuming sports and the use of functional rehabilitation rather than immobilization should injury occur.

The high frequency of ankle sprains - and advances in treatment over the last two decades - have prompted these guidelines, said Dr. Thomas Kaminski, director of athletic training education at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, who headed the guidelines task force.

"It's amazing how much better we are at treatment, especially prevention," Dr. Kaminski said. Many consider ankle sprains to be the most common injury in sports. They are also common in those with mobility issues and the aging-adult population.

Specifically the guidelines call for treating and preventing ankle sprains by using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) early after the injury, along with functional rehabilitation rather than immobilization for grade I and II sprains. Prophylactic ankle supports are suggested for individuals with a history of previous ankle sprains.

To prevent injury, individuals, especially those at higher risk, should undergo a three-month or longer balance and neuro-muscular control program. Rehabilitation should include comprehensive range-of-motion, flexibility, and strengthening of the surrounding musculature. Balance training should be performed throughout rehabilitation and follow-up management of ankle sprains to reduce the rate of reinjuring. Balance training, which typically involves the individual standing on one foot, standing on soft foam or jumping with one foot on a trampoline, reduces subsequent injuries.

Do you have kids starting sports? How is your or other loved one's balance? Complementary consults are available and Cutting Edge Physical Therapy accepts most insurance. Prevention is a lot less painful, expensive and time consuming than injury.