ANKLE SPRAINS & STRAINS
Ankle sprains are injuries that have stretched or torn the ligaments and strains are overstretched or torn muscles and tendons. All ligaments can suffer sprains and all muscles and tendons can be strained, however, our ankles are the most frequently injured and the lateral ankle sprain is the most common. The traditional approach to sprains and strains is rest, ice, compression and elevation, also known by the acronym RICE. Many doctors today treat sprains and strains by immobilizing the joint.
An alternative approach to sprains is known by the acronym MICE, where M stands for massage and movement. This alternative approach is not appropriate for Grade III sprains when the ligaments are completely torn but can be a way to accelerate the body's healing in Grade I & II sprains so that you can return to normal activity sooner. Massage can provide many benefits to a person who has an ankle sprain or strain, including:
- reduced swelling,
- reduced pain,
- breakdown of scar tissue,
- increased range of motion,
- accelerated return to normal activity and
- increased strength in the weak muscles that originally contributed to the injury.
I will use specific massage protocols to help your body heal faster from lateral or medial ankle sprains and strains. Following sprains and strains, the non-strained antagonist muscles frequently cramp up in response to the insult of the injury. The ankle sprain protocol addresses that response to the injury, helps break down scar tissue that has formed as a result of the injury, includes stretching for all muscles involved and strengthening exercises for weak muscles that are likely contributors to the original injury.
If your physician insists you use a boot to recuperate from a sprain, call me when you your foot gets out of the boot. Massage can help break down scar tissue that has formed and return your ankle to normal range of motion faster than rest alone. Scar tissue resulting from sprains and strains makes the ligaments and tendons weaker; reducing scar tissue it is important to minimizing the chance of re-injury. If weak muscles contributed to the sprain, I can show you exercises you can do at home to strengthen those weak muscles which will also decrease the likelihood of re-injury.
Many athletes suffer from shin pain. If your doctor has ruled out a fracture and given you a diagnosis of anterior shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) or posterior shin splints (posterior tibial tendon dysfunction), massage and stretching can help your body heal and get you back in action sooner. After your massage, I'll show you my favorite stretch for relieving the most common shin splint pain. My guess is that it's not part of your stretching routine and that after this massage, you'll probably want to make it a part of your self-care program.