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Posts for tag: therapy

March 01, 2015
Category: Laser Treatments
Tags: chattanooga   laser   therapy   ankle  

An ankle sprain is a very common injury seen in people of all ages.  The term "sprain" implies that the ankle was turned (usually with the bottom of the foot turned IN or toward the middle of the body) and is often called an INVERSION ANKLE INJURY.  There are other types of injuries to the ankle, but the vast majority of them are inversion injuries.  The fibula (the long thin bone running on the outside of the leg from the knee to the ankle) can be fractured, and this is easily identified on x-rays.  For purposes of this discussion, however, we are going to assume there is NO fracture, and the injury is a soft tissue only injury.  There are three degrees or GRADES of sprain - I, II, and III.  This refers to the severity of the sprain, and whether the ligaments are stretched (I), partially torn (II) or completely torn or ruptured (III).

Ankle sprains are treated in a number of ways.  Conservative treatment typically consists of R.I.C.E.  This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  We should also consider IMMOBILIZATION for the Grade II and Grade III sprains, meaning the foot and ankle are put into something to keep them from moving excessively.  Walking boots, aircasts, splins, and fiberglass or plaster casts are typical forms of immobilization.   A cast is used when complete immobilization is needed, and the foot must be held still and not allowed to move at all.  Other forms of immobilization are more partial forms of immobilization, in that the foot can move a little in the device, but the amount of motion is restricted.  In a Grade III stage, surgery has to be considered in some cases.  This is particularly true in the younger competitive athletic individual, where primary repair of the liagment(s) - basically sewing them back together or repairing them as soon as possible after the injury can prevent scar tissue, weakness, instability, and loss of function.

A newer way to treat these types of injuries, especially in the Grade II or MODERATE injury, is with laser treatment.  We are not talking here of laser surgery, but of laser therapy.  The injured person has anywhere from 3 to 5 treatments in an office setting, space 1-3 days apart, and is given a treatment with a CLASS IV laser.  This is also known as HDLT or High Dosage Laser Therapy.  In my office, we use the Diowave 30 watt laser.   This is done without anesthesia, and the patient feels only a profound sense of warmth during each treatment, which ranges from 10 to 20 minutes in length.  This is a deep pentrating light energy delivered into the body to reach damaged cells and tissues.  This not only makes the patient feel better, but results in healing of damaged tissues at a much faster rate.   Healing of ankle sprains is often 20 to 30% faster than by conventional means of treatment alone (ice, rest, immobilization, etc.).    The patient can still ambulate, although it is still beneficial to restrict movement with a walking boot or pneumatic walker.  The patient also experiences a lot less pain and swelling during the recovery.  If this is an athletic individual, it is often possible for him or her to return to sports acitivites much quicker.  As with any other conservative treatment, the sooner treatment is started, the better the outcome.  Unlike some forms of treatment, however, this type of laser can be used for CHRONIC, as well as ACUTE pain and swelling.

If you, or someone you know, has a foot or ankle sprain and needs a little extra help in healing it, call our office.  We are here to help.


Dr. Richard S. Eby