Did you know that even after 1 year post injury, up to one third of people still experience sprained ankle pain? To me, that is a shockingly high figure. And, if you factor in that over twenty five thousand people experience a sprained ankle every day, that means that over 3 million people are added to the list of chronic ankle pain sufferers every year. Again, a shockingly high figure…
That’s the bad news. Why in the world would someone still be in pain a year later? Well, the root cause of the problem is that they never actually healed their injury. Don’t forget that the ankle does get seriously hurt in the event of a sprain. Just sitting around the house and resting it does not do anything to help it heal. And if you’re in the camp that thinks ice, compression and elevation is going to help, the data tells us this is not correct either.
In fact, the only thing that truly helps an ankle heal fully, which is what is going to get you out of pain is steady, safe rehab. And by rehab, we mean a consistent and active approach to healing an injury. There’s nothing mystical about it. It is the best healing strategies for healing an injury, in this case, your ankle. And the better you heal, the quicker you will get out of ankle pain.
You see, the body has a certain healing process it goes through every time you get hurt. The best thing you can do is to help it along the way. As I have mentioned in many articles and videos, if you ice a sprained ankle, it actually stops the healing process. It provides limited pain relief, but actually hinders the natural healing process. And rest does not do anything to improve strength, stability and range of motion in the sprained ankle. So, you need a safe rehab program to heal an injury and, again, the data fully backs this up.
There are some other important factors… there will be a lot of swelling and waste in the injury. That makes it hard for fresh blood and nutrients to get in there and help your ankle heal. And remember, the better you heal, the quicker you will get out of pain. So, getting fresh blood in and the old waste out is really important. Again, just sitting around and resting and elevating your foot won’t get that done for you. And as I have mentioned before, ice actually hinders this natural process. So, you have to take active steps to manually remove the swelling and increase healthy circulation to the ankle.
In addition, when you sprain an ankle, not only do the ligaments get damaged, but we also see the development and accumulation of scar tissue. That scar tissue can be serious, because it does not go away on its own. It has to be manually removed from the injury or else it just stays in there. And when you ignore that and don’t get the ankle back to full health, not only will you be in pain, you will have significantly diminished athletic performance… in other words, speed, agility, quickness, balance and jumping ability. It all adds up quickly.
Maybe the worst part about all this is that your ankle will be at a very high risk of re-injury. And you can feel the weakness and instability in your ankle if you have an old injury that never fully healed. So, what do people do? They wear braces, tape, wraps, etc… And although that does not get rid of the pain, it does help with stability. But, at what cost? As it turns out, a serious one…
As I mentioned in some other articles, you do not want to make the ankle immobile with braces and tape. That directly puts the knees at risk. The ankle joint is mobile and you want to keep it that way. If you immobilize it, the next joint up the chain (the knee) become more mobile. The problem with that is that the knee is meant to be immobile or a stabilizer joint. So, when you force it to become mobile, you see a lot of tears and problems with the knees, which is even worse than an ankle injury.
But, I digress… this is about ankle pain. And the only way to really avoid it or get rid of it if you have an old injury is to get back into that joint and remove the scar tissue and swelling and ten mobilize it and increase strength, balance and range of motion. By doing that, not only will you get rid of the pain, you will also be able to walk, run and jump much better. This takes us back to the main reason ankle rehab is so important. So, follow a good sprained ankle treatment to get the best results and get out of pain. Obviously, I created HEM Ankle Rehab for this purpose, but you can always go see a good Physical Therapist as well.