Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ankle Sprain - Fast Recovery

Lots of people sprain their ankles every year. I was walking from the car to the camp and stepped over sloped rock and twisted.

In keeping with techniques I learned, I sought to heal myself. It turns out it is easier. First off, it does not take 4 weeks. If you follow this process, it will take a week and half.

My method is as follows but I am following Robert Kennedy's method which is close enough but better with Hot-Cold therapy. First, Ice 10 minutes. Use plastic cup to make ice. RICE method means Rest Ice Compression and Elevation, [1][2]. First 24 hours is crucial. Keep applying ice with a rest of an hour minimum. As long as you keep your swelling down, you are doing good. If you are using an ice bucket, ice 5-10 minutes and no more. Rest and elevate. Watch taping method in this video. I used a ready made one. I now believe taping is better.

In most cases, you can have swelling down soon. The key is not to re-injure your ankle. As soon as you can, walk. Walk and move and rehabilitate as soon as and as long as you don't have pain.

Stop when you have pain. You get full range of motions. Use your hands to stretch and find where and when it hurts.

See these exercises. Note you need to do them on both feet. This is important.

I am able to move without pain and have full range of movement after a bad sprain. But I learn how difficult it is to have a sprain ankle. There is a minimal exercise you can do to avoid sprain ankle for the rest of your life. Here it is; stand one foot at a time for a minute. Switch. Do it once or twice a day. Here is the NYTimes article.

Here is another interesting article from NY Times. Another article by John Kennedy MD.

"Phase 1: Immediate early treatment goals are minimizing soft tissue swelling and regaining range of motion. This is done by applying a compression bandage around the ankle and foot. Elevate the ankle higher than the heart. Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes to control internal bleeding and fluid accumulation. Apply ice every two hours while awake for the next 48 hours. When the foot is elevated, perform range-of-motion exercises by keeping your heel still and tracing the alphabet in capital letters with your big toe.

Phase 2: After 48 hours, the goals are to eliminate all swelling and pain, regain full range of motion and restrengthen the muscles that stabilize the ankle. Remove the compression wrap and immerse your ankle comfortably in a container of hot water (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Perform the air alphabet. Next, place your foot into a container filled with crushed ice and cold water. While keeping the heel of the injured foot on the bottom of the container, lift and rotate the foot up and out until it makes contact with the side of the container. Hold that position for eight seconds, relax for two seconds, and repeat.

Start the hot-water exercises and perform them in descending periods of five, four, three, two and one minute. Alternate each of them with one-minute intervals of cold bath exercises. Continue using the compression wrap until the ankle has no swelling and is pain free.

Phase 3: The goal is to restore range of motion and regain strength to the muscles stabilizing the ankle. You want to be able to stand and balance on the injured foot for 20 seconds without wobbling. Heel raises are excellent. Stand on the injured foot and slowly raise your heel off the ground, then slowly lower it. Repeat 10 times for three sets. Once you can stand and balance on the ball of the injured foot for 20 seconds and have regained full range of motion, begin a jogging program on a flat, smooth surface for up to 20 minutes. When finished, ice the ankle for 20 minutes. When you are able to run on a field or court in a large figure eight pattern at quarter speed, advance to half speed and then full speed. At that point, you can return to full activities."

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