If you’ve sprained your ankle, you’re not alone! Over 20,000 people are treated for sprained ankles every year and that doesn’t include thousands who never see a doctor, which is always a smart first move. Whether you see a doctor or a physical therapist or neither, it’s important to know the best way to treat a sprained ankle so that, years later, it looks and functions as normal as possible.
What is a sprained ankle?
A sprained ankle is an injury to the ligament in the ankle. The ligament is the soft tissue around the ankle bone and joint that controls its movement. When you sprain your ankle, your ligament has been over stretched (mildly to extremely) and is either partially or completely torn.
Many people sprain an ankle playing sports but it can happen while you’re doing the most mundane, everyday activities. If you step awkwardly or on uneven ground and unnaturally twist your ankle with an unusual amount of force to the joint, it can cause a sprained ankle.
What should you do for a sprained ankle?
You’ll immediately feel pain and sometimes, depending on the severity, the ankle can blow up like a balloon with swelling. This is normal but the trick is to act fast so that you minimize inflammation, tissue hardening, and pain. What you do now and over the next few weeks often determines if or how much your ankle will return to normal function and appearance for the rest of your life.
Get ice on the injury as soon as possible and continue to ice regularly – 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours over the next several days. Wrap or get a brace for your ankle to support it while it’s weak.
Always consider seeing a doctor, who will x-ray your ankle and may tell you to go to a physical therapist, or not. Some will say there’s nothing you can do about a sprained ankle but that’s simply not true.
There is a lot you can do to treat a spained ankle for the best outcome now and in the future. In addition to icing, stabilizing the ankle (wrap or brace), using crutches, and taking an anti-inflammatory like Advil…
See an active release techniques (ART) therapist who also specializes in sports-injury massage to minimize spasm and tissue hardening and keep the ankle joint from stiffening, which affects range of motion and ankle size now and often for the rest of your life.
Even if much time has passed since you sprained your ankle, sports-injury massage combined with active release techniques can greatly improve the funtioning and look of your ankle.
In Bend, Oregon, I am the only deep-tissue, injury-specific massage therapist who combines massage with active release techniques. Simultaneously releasing and massaging the damaged soft-tissue and joint can mean the difference between a sprained ankle returning to normal and not.
Get active release technique combined with massage to eliminate pain, enlargement, and stiffness.
Call Tana Clark, licensed Active Release Techniques practicioner and deep-tissue massage therapist, for a free consultation. Learn more about how deep-tissue massage and Active Release Techniques can completely release and aid in healing sprained ankles — so you can get on with your active life.