How to Heal an Old Ankle Sprain
The Cycle of Pain
33% of people who get an ankle sprain will be in pain 1 year later! (Evid Based Med 2008; 13 (6):187. Margo KL.)
After one sprain, you are 4 times more likely to sprain it again! (J Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1984; 16(1):64-6. Tropp H.)
One of the most frustrating things in life can be dealing with an old ankle sprain that never gets better. It forces you to change how you live and even give up the things you love to do the most. Or at the very least, limit your ability to do the things you love and certainly not with your maximum potential.
When it comes to an old ankle injury, it can be extremely difficult, because it limits your ability to run, jump and move with any kind of balance or agility. And, since the ankle is the base of the body, an old ankle injury can easily affect other joints in the body (especially the knee, hips and low back).
When you first get an ankle sprain, you might think it’s not a big deal and just follow the old advice of resting, icing and waiting until your ankle heals itself. Unfortunately, studies show that this passive approach to healing leads to long term problems, including chronic ankle weakness, instability, stiffness and of course, pain.
Over time, the ankle deteriorates further and further and this can dramatically affect the quality of your overall life. For example, the New York Times recently reported on a study that found that just one sprained ankle can lead to 2,000 less steps a day, for the rest of your life! (New York Times, 2015. Don’t Just Walk Off a Sprain. Reynolds G.).
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. And the good news is that there are a number of things you can do to actually heal that ankle and get back to full health. So, let’s get into it…
Rest & Ice does NOT Work
It’s extremely important to recognize what does NOT work, so that you can avoid the pitfalls that can create a cycle of pain and injury in the first place. The two biggest mistakes you can make when healing an ankle injury is to rely on rest and ice… Studies have consistently shown that rest and ice not only SLOWS DOWN the healing process, it can actually STOP it.
I realize this may sound controversial, but remember that rest and ice does nothing to actually heal your ankle. Ice is meant as a short term pain reliever and rest is great in spurts, but will never improve strength, stability and healthy range of motion in your ankle. You will simply end up with a painful, stiff and weak ankle that never gets back to full strength. Sound familiar?
If you want to read the studies, check out this article on rest & ice… (click here >>)
Remember, there is a lot of damage in your ankle after a sprain and it takes some work to get the waste out safely and heal the tissues properly. And that takes a much more proactive approach.
Rehab is the Answer
What you need to do is a high quality ankle rehab program that deals with all that old waste and scar tissue that may have accumulated in the ankle. In other words, the first thing to do is take out the trash. Then, we need to get healthy blood and nutrients into the ankle, so the ligaments can start to properly heal. And it’s powerful… doing a few simple rehab techniques at home or with a physical therapist can make your ankle feel tremendously better in just a few short days.
But, this is just the beginning. Then, you need to rebuild your ankle step by step. It’s been a long time and you may have had many injuries over the years, so it’s best to take things slowly and gently. Again, you need a comprehensive rehab program. You have to deal with any possible muscle imbalances, balance issues, weakness, adhesions, stiffness, instability, etc.
The goal is to start seeing progress fairly quickly and then build into more challenging rehab exercises and stretches. It’s a step by step process and as time goes on, you will be able to do more and more, until you get to the point that you are pain free and can move powerfully and safely.
Overall, a good ankle rehab program should NOT take more than 20-30 minutes a day. You can go see a great physical therapist or try HEM, our at home ankle rehab program that has helped over 100,000 people heal new and old ankle injuries safely and quickly…
HEM Ankle Rehab is a complete ankle healing system that works for any old ankle sprain as well as all other types of ankle, foot and calf injuries. We designed HEM to ensure it is safe and easy to do for people of all ages and activity levels. HEM ensures you will be able to move pain free while also significantly reducing the risk of future injury.
You can do HEM at home, without any equipment and it only takes a few minutes a day. Just follow along with the easy step by step videos or ebook (you get both) on any device.
As you can see, we have a lot of people jumping in this article. The idea is to be able to jump like that again without fear of pain. We want you to be able to get back to all those things you love again, because life is short and you shouldn’t have to live it in pain!