Ankle Sprains & Strains
Sprained ankles are a common sports injury; many of us have done this at least once. If left to heal improperly, ankle sprains can come back to haunt you again and again, because the ligaments will remain loose and give way more easily when strained. We’ll show you some natural remedies for your sprained ankle so that your injury doesn’t become a chronic problem. Part of healing a sprained ankle is making sure it's stronger than it used to be. Physical therapy (described below) is an important part of recovery!
A sprained ankle happens when the ligaments on the outside of your ankle (most commonly) are stretched or torn, such as during a sudden change in direction playing soccer, rolling your ankle on a rock while hiking, or stepping off a curb the wrong way during your run.
Sprained ankles are typically graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on the severity. Grade 1 and most Grade 2 sprained ankles will respond well to our natural ankle sprain treatment at home. Grade 3’s need the attention of your doctor to assess ligament damage because these are often partial or complete tears of the ligaments and typically require surgery.
Natural Ankle Sprain Treatment
Here are some techniques and natural products you can use to heal your sprained ankle:
Give it a rest. You just strained or even tore the ligaments in your ankle. Putting weight on it is not a good idea! Take some time off from your exercise until it feels stronger. The pain will go away but it will still feel weak…this is when you can begin exercising again!
Start taking Ligament Restore as soon as you can. It's one of the most effective natural remedies for sprained ankle.
Use Anti-Inflammatory Formula as a natural replacement for ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Epsom salt baths are also great for painful sore muscles and body parts. You can get Epsom salts at any grocery store.
Lastly, injured ankles need support. We recommend using Acti-Tape, a specialized type of athletic tape that can help reduce pain and improve healing from injuries. When applied properly, it exerts a slight lifting effect on the skin, creating more room for fluids to flow beneath. Acti-Tape is a type of 'Kinesio tape' seen on athletes of all types. It's colorful, provides the right kind of support, and allows your ankle (or other injured area) to move safely while still providing support.
Once the pain has gone down, start your own physical therapy – ‘draw’ the alphabet in the air using your injured foot. Write each letter of the alphabet normally and then backwards. Or, set up a pile of marbles or other small objects that you can pick up individually and move from the large pile to a new one. Both of these exercises will help to stretch and strengthen the damaged ligaments in your ankle.
Sprained Ankle Types
Sprained ankles are typically graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on the severity.
Grade 1 sprain:
- Mostly stretching and maybe minor tearing of the outside (lateral) ankle ligaments.
- The joint is stable, meaning you can bear full weight on it.
- Pain is pretty mild
- Swelling and discoloration (bruising) are mild as well.
- The ankle may feel a little stiff in the mornings until it heals
- Joint is a little unstable. Difficult to bear your full weight on it.
- Pain is moderate
- The ankle will become moderately swollen and there will probably be some bruising too.
Grade 3 Sprain:
- Grade 3’s are serious. You’ve torn a ligament completely.
- The ankle is totally unstable, meaning you can’t bear any weight on it at all.
- Pain is bad! You might have heard a ‘snap’ when the injury occurred.
- Swelling is severe (like a grapefruit!) and there will be a lot of bruising.
- This type of ankle sprain treatment is typically surgery! A completely torn ligament will not reattach itself.
All Grade 1 and most Grade 2 sprained ankles will respond well to our natural ankle sprain treatment at home. Grade 3’s need the attention of your doctor to assess ligament damage, however our treatment suggestions will certainly help speed up the healing process.
What About RICE?
RICE is a commonly referred to acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation as the standard of care for injuries and ankle sprain treatment. However, we actually DON’T recommend you apply the Ice part of RICE to your sprained ankle, and here’s why:
- Ice prevents swelling, and we’re told (over and over) that by preventing swelling, we’re speeding healing. Huh? Swelling is a complex mechanism that your body orchestrates – basically it’s a rush of white blood cells and other chemicals that your body makes to heal injuries. So, if you apply ice to stop the swelling, then you are slowing down healing. And, there’s no evidence in the medical literature that an iced ankle heals faster than one that hasn’t been iced. Ice is a great pain reliever, no doubt about that – but trust us on this one. Use some of the natural ankle sprain treatments we’ve got listed below, instead of ice, and see how quickly your ankle gets back to speed!
- Yes, if you’ve sprained an ankle you should Rest. Compression helps support the joint, that’s a good thing too. Elevation will reduce the swelling… you can certainly do this at the end of the day, after being up on your feet all day. That part of swelling reduction is pretty minor and won't impede the healing process.
Give it some time. Sprained ankles can take several weeks to months to heal and feel completely normal. That's why its important to follow as much ankle sprain advice as you can.