Acupuncture for Ankle Sprain – Is It Effective?


Sprained ankles, while common among people of all ages and activity levels, can be extremely painful and debilitating. Left untreated, a sprained ankle can swell up and grow more uncomfortable – potentially leading to surgery. This possibility is just one reason why many people consider acupuncture for ankle sprain alongside pain medication.

Ankle sprains can occur through ligament stretching and tearing. There’s no specific severity or cause – meaning every case is diagnosed and treated on its own merits. For a temporary period, putting weight on a sprained ankle can be extremely painful and will naturally limit your range of mobility. 

If your ankle feels tender in a particular spot, is unstable, and your movement is restricted, you may have a sprain. In which case, it’s important to seek medical advice.

Without stable joints and ligaments, we’re unable to walk, run, jump, or even stand. Highly active people rely on strong ankle ligaments to stay stable throughout intensive exercise. With regular sessions, acupuncture can help to both prepare and heal ankles that may be sprained or suffering from torn ligaments.

How can acupuncture provide relief for ankle sprains?

Acupuncture, a treatment that focuses on redirecting blood and oxygen to trigger points across the body, can help to lessen inflammation in affected areas. While ibuprofen may help temporarily reduce inflammation in a sprained ankle, regular acupuncture is proven to help restore mobility and lessen discomfort in the short term.

Studies show that acupuncture for acute ankle sprains may be more effective than mainstream medicine with regard to speed of recovery. Research is ongoing, with larger sample groups likely required for a more concrete analysis. Regardless, feedback from patients with ankle sprain is immensely positive.

Acupuncture may help lessen pain and improve ankle mobility in the ankle(s) by soothing specific brain activity. Regular treatment can release endorphins to help lower pain while simultaneously silencing pain receptor signals.

Professionals all over the world recommend acupuncture as a follow-up treatment following an initial diagnosis. In most cases, depending on the severity of your ankle sprain, it is worthwhile seeking pain relief and ‘grading’ from your doctor or physician. Ankle sprains fit into one of three pain or severity grades, with ‘Grade I’ being the mildest injury and ‘Grade III’ being the most detrimental.

Acupuncture may be useful in soothing and rehabilitating injuries across Grades I, II, and III. Regular treatment with a professional practitioner alongside pain medication and ice pressure can help you to get back on your feet sooner.

Acupuncture will also be only so effective providing you stay off your affected joint as much as you can. It’s never wise to rush back into activity even if you start to feel better – it’s crucial to wait for advice from your physician and acupuncturist.

It’s important to follow up with acupuncture so that your ankles can benefit from regular collagen promotion. This will help to heal any soft tissue tears over the long haul.

When should I speak to an acupuncturist about ankle pain?

When you consult an acupuncturist for ankle pain may depend on the severity of your injury. For example, ankle spraining at Grade I occurs during normal activity – such as when walking and accidentally rolling your ankle. It’s likely this low-grade injury may only need a little ice and pain medication for a short period.

Grade III ankle injuries – for example, incurred through falling from a height or through sports injury – may need extensive acupuncture and medical assistance. If you notice your ankle(s) start to swell, and you’re unable to walk properly after a few days, it’s important to ask for help.

Ultimately, if you’re in such pain and cannot walk or move your ankle(s) at all, it’s time to speak to an expert.

Your acupuncture session for ankle sprain

No two acupuncture sessions are truly the same, largely thanks to our different bodies having different needs! But, you’ll generally expect a short strength assessment and a discussion of available therapies before you start with acupuncture for ankle sprain right away.

At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we take the time to assess your injury, any doctor’s notes and discuss how you feel. We’ll discuss your case in detail with you and map out what you can expect over the coming sessions – are you an athlete aiming to train for a specific meet, for example?

An acupuncture session will revolve around the gentle needling of trigger points along with electrostimulation and soft tissue mobilization for improvement in overall function. As the session progresses, you’ll feel a warming pressure as your specialist locates points to help stimulate nerves and direct blood and oxygen towards your affected ankle(s). These points may not be in the ankle joint itself – acupuncture points are scattered throughout your body. If you have acupuncture for general foot pain too, for example, you may find similar points targeted.

You may already feel more at ease at the end of your first session. It’s common to experience more than 50% improvement in mobility after one visit – but your acupuncturist will recommend further sessions to help encourage blood flow and long-term healing of soft tissue around your ankle(s). It’s also important to follow any advice you may receive from your doctor.

Book acupuncture for ankle sprains today

While ankle sprains can vary in severity and pain, there’s no reason to let instability and discomfort prevent you from getting back to the things you love doing.

A slight pain now can slowly develop into a debilitating condition if left to persist. If pain doesn’t go away over the course of a few days, it may be time to ask for help. Just as acupuncture for meniscus tears can help you regain strength in your knees, treatment for your ankles can quickly rehabilitate your feet – but you must take immediate action.
If you’re experiencing a painful, swollen ankle and unsure which path to take, speak to your local acupuncture clinic for free advice. Contact Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture via phone or form now and book your first visit!

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