I’ve Suffered Many A Sprained Ankle!
If you’ve been following my posts, you’re more than likely to have seen me blabber on about my experiences with massage throughout my adolescent years. Believe it or not, I had wayyy more massages back then than I’ve had now or in the last 10 years.
It’s not because I’ve grown less fond of massage, it’s that I don’t need them as much these days.
For one, I don’t play anywhere as much sport as I used to, and two I find that the daily yoga and meditation I practice has been a miracle for the body and mind in ways that I can’t begin to articulate. I don’t wanna go on a tangent, but you should seriously consider taking up yoga and meditation in whatever capacity you can. It’s truly life transforming!
Coming back to massage….today we’ll be looking at whether massage is an effective means at treating a sprained ankle, and if so, how should it be done?
I’ve suffered many a sprained ankle in my younger years. During this time I was part of my middle school soccer team, and as you can imagine, it really doesn’t take much to have a sprained ankle when you have 2 games a week coupled with practice sessions on weekends!
What Is A Sprained Ankle Anyways?
Mayo Clinic defines it as being an injury that happens when you twist or roll your ankle in an awkward way resulting in overstretching and even tearing of the ankle ligaments (Source: Mayo Clinic). Ouch, doesn’t that sound way worse than you first imagined!?
Like many other injuries, sprained ankles vary in severity. There are some sprains which are easy to deal with and don’t hurt as much, and then there are those which are incredibly painful.
If there is extensive tissue damage or even a broken bone, you’re likely to feel way worse than if it’s an overstretched ligament or a partial tear.
What’s been your experience with sprained ankles? Have you suffered a minor/major sprain, and how painful was it? Drop your comments down below as I’d love to hear!
Does It Help To Massage A Sprained Ankle?
Moment of truth! The answer is yes massage can help provide relief from a sprained ankle, however….
One should exercise tremendous caution when attempting massage on a sprained ankle. The reason for this is that ankle sprains are so varied, and therefore you can’t really place them all in the same bucket when looking at treatment options.
In your attempt to heal a sprained ankle, you may actually end up making things worse if you deliver improper massage.
This brings me to my second point: I strongly recommend you visit a trained massage therapist and discuss your sprained ankle with them. It may cost you $$$ for the visit, but it’s definitely not worth taking the risk to self massage your sprained ankle. This becomes all the more critical if the pain and extent of the sprain is chronic.
Which bring us to the next question: how can you tell the severity and extent of a sprained ankle?
Well, pain is usually a telltale sign. If the pain is low to mild, it’s probably a less severe grade 1 sprain, if the pain is unbearable, then it might be a grade 2 or 3 sprain. Here’s a great article that talks about the different grades of ankle sprain and their corresponding symptoms. You should check it out!
If you have a grade 2 or 3 ankle sprain, my personal opinion is that massage should be avoided entirely. I say this because I think massage could end up doing more damage than good.
Irrespective the grade of the ankle sprain, there’s one thing you should always do: go and see a doctor!
Seeking Medical Advice & Following The Standard RICE!
What’s the first thing you should do if you sprain your ankle? The very first thing you should do is STOP doing whatever activity you were doing that resulted in the sprain. Now this might be obvious, but I still think it needs to be stated.
Sometimes when the stakes are high, especially in sport, your adrenaline is pumping and your mind tells you to play through the pain. One piece of advice: DON’T!
I can’t tell you how much I’ve lived to regret this when I thought it’d be clever to continue playing through an injury. The end result was much worse, and the time I was sidelined was much longer. It’s just not worth it.
So the best thing to do after experiencing an ankle sprain is to immediately halt whatever activity you were doing that caused the sprain.
After you do that, now you can assess the situation a little better to try and understand how bad the injury is. I know not everyone will consult a doctor for an ankle sprain, but I personally think there’s no harm. Yes it might be an inconvenience, but at least you get it properly checked out.
So before making the trip to the Doctor’s, is there anything else you can do?
If you’ve ever taken a first aid class before, you’ll have heard of the acronym RICE. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Rest—Stop doing what you were doing and take a time out!
- Ice—Consider applying some cold to the inflamed/swollen area. Ice packs work great!
- Compression—Bandaging with a wrap can also help decrease swelling. Careful not to go too tight!
- Elevation—Put your ankle on a pillow to elevate it above your heart.
Again, it’s a pretty straightforward list of things one can do to initially treat a sprained ankle. Your doctor will examine you and then determine if anything further is required.
What Are Some Examples Of An Effective Ankle Sprain Massage?
After you’ve applied the RICE principles and consulted with your doctor, you can then look at exploring massage as a treatment option (this should be discussed with both your doctor and massage therapist).
Gentle, light strokes typically work best but the therapist should really gauge the condition of the patient as the massage progresses along.
Below is an example of what I think is a careful, responsible way at delivering massage for treating a sprained ankle. He goes through each of the scenarios in some detail and then elaborates on what his technique would be along with the specific area it should be applied to. Also notice how gentle the therapist is with the main focus being that of touch?
As mentioned in the video, ice can also be applied during the massage treatment to numb the area and provide some pain relief.
Have You Had Success Treating An Ankle Sprain With Massage?
Drop a comment and let us know! We love hearing from you guys/gals so keep the comments coming! Lastly, if you have any unanswered questions, feel free to pop those down below as well.
Take care and we’ll see you in the next one!