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Can adjustments help a sprained ankle?

Most people think of the back/neck or spine adjustments when it comes to chiropractic, but did you know chiropractors can also adjust other joints in the body, not limited to the ankle, shoulder or wrist? This week’s “Speaking of the Spine” is focused on ankle adjustments and the benefits it can provide patients. Making up roughly 10% of sports-related injuries, inversion ankle sprains are a fairly common ailment. The prevalence of these conditions can lead to people downplaying the severity of their condition. Without proper treatment, the injury could get worse in the short term and possibly result in chronic instability long term.

Fortunately Dr. Kennedy is trained in extremity adjusting techniques to address the misalignment that is frequently found in patients following an inversion ankle sprain. Adjustments made to the ankle following such injury have been shown to increase the range of motion in the ankle as well as decrease pain and improve self-reported function. (1) These benefits are more likely apparent in those who are still in the acute/sub-acute stages of the healing process. However, adjustments have also been shown to help hip abductor muscle function (AKA glutes, tensor fascia latae, piriformis and sartorius). (2) Hip abductors play an important role in stabilizing your pelvis while walking, running, and any type of movement where your weight is distributed to a single leg. (3) This relationship becomes more important in an individual with a chronic injury. Improper muscle coordination in the lower body can result in a whole cascade of other problems, including chronic low back pain.

Your feet and ankles are vital to proper mobility throughout your body. Similar to a car's driving ability is affected by its tires, rims and axels. If you have ever sprained your ankle and haven't properly rehab it, you could benefit from having your ankles adjusted! Make sure to bring this up to Dr. Kennedy at your next visit if you're interested in trying this therapy.


  1. Krueger B, Becker L, Leemkuil G, Durall C. Does Talocrural Joint-Thrust Manipulation Improve Outcomes After Inversion Ankle Sprain? Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2015;24(3):315-321.

  2. Michael A. Lawrence, Jamie T. Raymond, Amy E. Look, Nicholas M. Woodard, Christina M. Schicker, Brian T. Swanson, Effects of Tibiofibular and Ankle Joint Manipulation on Hip Strength and Muscle Activation, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 43, Issue 5, 2020, Pages 406-417.

  3. Cooper NA, Scavo KM, Strickland KJ, et al. Prevalence of gluteus medius weakness in people with chronic low back pain compared to healthy controls. European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society. 2016;25(4):1258-1265. doi:10.1007/s00586-015-4027-6

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