Stretching and massage for ankle sprains

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Ankle sprains are among the most common and frequently encountered injuries by both athletes and medical trainers. Nonetheless, many individuals aren’t doing everything that they can when it comes to ensuring that the injury heals as expediently and as fully as possible. Ankle injuries, sprains in particular, can be tough, because returning to full​-contact or full-speed activity before the full healing process has completed can lead to reinjury, which can often be worse than the initial damage. In order to ensure you’re doing everything in your power to heal your ankles as quickly as possible, take a look at these suggestions.

Massage

Massage can be an extremely beneficial way to cope with ankle sprains. In order to do so correctly, though, you need to ensure you aren’t overexerting the ankle in the first place. First and foremost, try practicing massage in several small sessions throughout the day, as opposed to all at once. This will give the ankle time to heal and relax in between sessions. Further, never massage the ankle to the point where pain arises in the tissue; if you feel like you’re damaging yourself, you probably are. Also pairing a cooling pad or ice with the massage is a great way to reduce the swelling before you begin working the tissue, which should allow you more access to the injured part of the ankle. Just be sure not to ice the ankle to the point where feeling is lost, as this may lead to you massaging the tissue too ardently.

Incorporate stretching

When your ankle is strained or sprained, the resultant swelling can make the tissue surrounding the joint inflexible. This, in turn, can make one think that stretching is somewhat futile, as the normal range of motion of the ankle hasn’t yet been restored. According to PhysioAdvisor, though, stretching can help you to restore the range of motion in the ankle while also strengthening the various tissues in the joint. For a basic stretch, you can begin by simply laying your leg down flat across a table or other surface, so that your toes point up. Move your foot past the edge of the table so that it hangs off, and move the ankle to the front, the right, down and to the left. Repeat this process several times, pausing briefly between sets.

Downtime

One of the most important aspects of caring for your ankle after a sprain is managing downtime correctly. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, the acronym RICE can help you to remember what to do. This acronym stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. After you have rested and iced your ankle adequately, it will become important to compress the joint with some sort of wrap or brace. Finally, you will want to keep it elevated whenever possible, as this will reduce swelling.

Jill Lohmann is a Director of Operations for Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers and a certified physical therapist. Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers is a physical therapist owned and operated rehabilitation company with a network of 170 outpatient rehabilitation centers located throughout the Midwest, Arizona and Georgia.