NEWSLETTER The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body
ACCELERATING HEALING AFTER AN ANKLE SPRAIN
Whether it's loosely tied ice skates, slipping on a sidewalk, or tripping over the dog, sprained ankles are common among people of all ages and especially among athletes. Most people know about RICE-ing after an ankle sprain (rest, ice, compression, elevation) but there's a whole lot more you could be doing that will help to While ice isniceforreducingabitof inflammation and temporarily numbing the area to pain, it can also leave you feeling stiff. The thing that really pumps away inflammation is movement. An easy and gentle exercise you can do anywhere is to draw the alphabet in the air with your foot. Start by slowly making small letters within your pain tolerance and work up to bigger letters as you feel comfortable. PRO TIP: Elevate your leg while you do this to help drain even more inflammation and imagine your "alphabet drawing pen" is at your heel rather than at your toes to start activating the muscles that often shut down after an ankle sprain. 2. Get it looked at The benefit of going straight to a physical therapist is they can rule out a fracture or determine whether you might need an x-ray, they can grade the severity of your ankle sprain (how many ligaments are involved and the extent of any damage), and they can get treatment started right away. While an ankle sprain will eventually get better on its own, the goal of physical therapy is to speed up the healing process, eliminate the potential for chronic pain or instability, restore efficient movement without compensation, minimize the risk of re-injury, and facilitate a quick return to sports and daily activities free of pain. PRO TIP: Find a manual physical therapist. The most common type of ankle sprain is called an inversion sprain and it's when the pinky toe side of your foot rolls under, potentially stretching accelerate your healing time. 1. Move more than you ice
A basic (but not necessarily easy) exercise is to stand at your kitchen counter with your feet together. Start by lifting up your injured foot and take note of how much you have to shift your weight to stand on your good foot (hopefully not much at all). Place your foot back down and then lift up your good foot and see whether you need to shift a lot more weight to stand on just your injured foot. Keep alternating until you can achieve an even amount of minimal weight shift when switching to each foot. PRO TIP: Take some of your weight through your fingertips on the kitchen counter if your ankle is still painful. Try keeping your weight a little further back in your heel and activate your glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles to help reduce how far you have to shift your weight. Progress within your tolerance to balancing on your injured foot for 10 seconds, then 30 seconds, then with eyes closed. To request a FREE fracture and ankle sprain severity screen, email email@example.com
or tearing three different ligaments. All three of those ligaments are attached to your fibula bone which means it too gets pulled down in the direction of the ankle roll. A manual physical therapist will mobilize your fibula back to its usual resting place so it's not blocking ankle movement and ensure it moves appropriately in synergy with your ankle to make rehabilitative exercises more effective and pain-free. 3. Balance before agility Something most people don't realize they've impaired with an ankle sprain is their awareness of where their ankle/foot is in space (a sense known as proprioception). This can present as a feeling thatyour foot ispointinga few (orseveral) degrees away from its actual orientation. This happens because the ligaments and muscles involved in the sprain send signals to your brain about how your ankle joint is oriented and those messages can become faulty or even absent. It's important to restore an accurate sense of proprioception so that with every step, you're placing your foot down in a way that allows it to accept the weight of your body and avoid another ankle roll.
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