If you injured your ankle while snowboarding, and you think you have an ankle sprain, you may want to see your doctor or podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis. Snowboarder's ankle is an ankle fracture that is often mistaken for a sprain.
A fracture may need different treatment in order to heal properly, so getting an accurate diagnosis of a snowboarding injury is important. Here are some treatments you might receive for snowboarder's ankle, including physical therapy.
Immobilize Your Ankle
Your ankle fracture may not need surgery unless the fracture is large enough. Keeping your ankle immobilized and keeping weight off of your foot for several weeks may be enough to allow your ankle to heal.
You'll probably wear a plastic or inflatable boot that holds your ankle in place while the bones knit back together. You may need to use crutches, a knee walker, or a special boot that stabilizes your ankle and offloads pressure as you walk.
The healing phase may take several weeks, and during that time, you'll need to limit your activities, rest, and elevate your foot as much as possible.
Begin Physical Therapy
Your doctor will probably send you to physical therapy to regain your muscle strength lost during a long period of inactivity while your ankle heals. Your therapist might have you exercise in a therapy pool so you can regain your fitness without having to bear much weight on your ankle.
You might also do general muscle strengthening and stretching exercises so your leg and body muscles are strong and able to protect your feet and ankles once you resume snowboarding. In addition, your physical therapist may help you with other aspects of fitness, such as improving balance, since good balance is essential for snowboarding.
Rehabilitate Your Ankle
Much of your physical therapy will focus on rehabilitating your injured ankle. You may need to wear a brace for quite a while after the boot or cast is removed. The goal of therapy is to return your foot to its normal level of fitness and to prevent another ankle fracture.
The therapist might have you do exercises on a wobble board or balance board once your ankle is strong enough. Working on this type of equipment strengthens your ankles and improves your balance too. In addition, the therapist will work up an exercise routine that strengthens your ankle muscles. Your therapy is tailored to your goal of resuming snowboarding and may be different from someone with an ankle fracture who doesn't participate in sports.