High School Athlete Uses Hydro Pool for Ankle Sprain Rehab
Ankle sprains are common injuries and can affect patients’ lives for weeks and even months. Although a sprain can happen when individuals stumble or turn their ankle, serious sprains are usually the result of falling or a sports injury.
It takes time for a patient’s ligaments to heal so that it’s safe to put weight on their ankle again. As every experienced clinician knows, the key to ankle rehabilitation is to keep swelling down and use strengthening exercises to help a patient regain mobility as their ankle heals. Incorporating aqua therapy exercises into a patient’s physical therapy routine can help their ankle heal quickly after a bad sprain.
Hydrotherapy for Ankle Sprain
Ankle therapy usually involves the RICE method — rest with applied ice, compression, and elevation to take down any swelling. After 24-48 hours, most patients can start introducing strengthening exercises. Because ankles bear so much body weight, it’s essential for patients to take their recovery slowly. If they get impatient, they may reinjure their ankle and have to start over.
Hydrotherapy is particularly useful for ankle sprain rehab because water helps support a patient’s body during therapy exercises. Individuals can safely move much sooner when their body is submerged in water. In addition to offering support, water provides gentle resistance that’s ideal for muscle exercises. If your patient needs to heal their ankle quickly, aqua therapy can help them prevent reinjury and heal faster than if they just used land therapy.
Ankle Sprain Case Study: Adam’s Story
At HydroWorx, we’ve helped athletes heal ankle injuries so they can safely play out the rest of the season. An ankle injury can negatively impact an athlete’s career by keeping them off the playing field. If not allowed to heal properly, ankle injuries can resurface and continue to impact an athlete’s career.
Here’s how hydrotherapy helped Adam, a Lower Dauphin County football star, complete ankle sprain recovery so he could get back into the game.
In the fall, Adam sprained his ankle after returning a 90-yard interception for a touchdown. Deciding to go for the two point conversion, Adam was “rolling out of the pocket” and stepped too quickly and sprained his ankle pretty severely. Coming into a critical part of the season, Adam couldn’t wait 2 weeks for his ankle sprain to heal. That is why he decided to use the HydroWorx pool right away.
He got into the HydroWorx L-Series residential pool, one day after the injury to hopefully speed up the recovery time and reduce the swelling. After just three days, Adam no longer needed his crutches, and he says this is because he was able to strengthen his ankle by walking underwater! The pool “really helped me recover from my ankle sprain and it helped the swelling and the bruising” too!
In order to get back on the playing field faster, he was getting in the pool every day, using both the massage hose and the underwater treadmill. Adam would walk for about 5 to 10 minutes for a warm up and then make use of the hydro-massage to loosen up the joint and reduce the swelling. After using the massage hose, Adam would get back on the treadmill to walk for a bit more.
This high school athlete was pleased with the results because he was able to get on the practice field just six days after spraining his ankle in a game! After three full days of aquatic therapy Adam lost the crutches and was able to lightly jog on land!
Why did this work so quickly for Adam compared to strictly land-based rehabilitation for an ankle sprain?
HydroWorx aquatic therapy offers early advantages that land does not:
- Athletes are able to do exercises in the water that they are not able to do on land because of pain or functional limitations.
- The non-weight-bearing environment eases pressure on joints to move freely and expedites the functional processes of rehab.
- HydroWorx therapy allows you to intensify the work performed without increasing the risk of pushing the athlete beyond the limits of the rehab progression.
- Unlike anti-gravity or traditional land running, the hydro-static pressure of water naturally decreases inflammation and increases circulation, never leaving muscle soreness.
- HydroWorx allows you to easily bridge the athlete from therapy to training.