We’ve all experienced it – whether you were running, jumping, or just walking – the agony of a twisted ankle. Rolling your ankle over is not only painful, it can linger, leaving your ankle weak and more susceptible to re-injury.
The most common ankle sprain, the inversion sprain, occurs when you roll your foot inwards putting immense pressure on the tight fibrous tendons and ligaments on the outside of your ankle that connect the bone tissues in your ankle and feet.
It is likely that you have onlystretched the tendons and/or ligaments. While this can be excrutiating, it is important to keep in mind that with proper treatment, you can recover fully and get back to your active lifestyle!
Upon spraining your ankle, you will experience sharp, localized pain that may persist for a few days, but should gradually subside and become more bearable.
In these initial stages, it is important to reduce the swelling and control the pain as much as possible. Cold Compression Therapy is a tried and true treatment for sprains. The best way to heal is to reduce the amount of damage that is occurs from the sprain. Cold Compression Therapy does exactly that. If applied as quickly as possible following a sprain and intermittantly for 48-72 hours following the injury it reduces the amount of damage and healing time required.
When treating an ankle sprain, it isimportant for the injured ligaments to fully heal. Repeated mild sprains lead to thickening of the ligaments and irritation of the ankle joint. Recurring ankle sprains, caused by a progressive weakening of the ligaments, can lead to a chronic condition called ‘ankle instability’.
Re-injury also means longer healing time and increased scar tissue build-up in your ankle. Scar tissue is hard, inflexible, and tough to get rid of. The more scar tissue that develops, the more you lose the range of motion for that ankle. As scar tissue develops, it’s likely you will experience chronic pain or arthritis and your ankle won’t perform as well as it once did leaving it prone to injury again and again.
Ankle Injury Treatments
Allowing your ankle to rest is always recommended when you are suffering from a sprain, fracture, tendinitis, bursitis or other ankle injury. During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your ankle until the pain and inflammation settle.
Maitaining your fit body
Therapeutic massage can support your fitness goals in a number of important ways:
Eases post-exercise soreness. Vigorous exercise can leave muscles feeling fatigued, stiff and sore. Massage improves circulation which speeds removal of irritating waste and brings in oxygen and nutrients muscles need to rejuvenate.
Reduces chronic tensions and pain. Over time, muscle tightness can build, causing pain, impairing performance and making you more prone to injury. Massage can reduce chronic tension and relieve trigger points, which are highly irritable spots that send pain into distant areas.
Increases flexibility and helps restore mobility. Massage stretches, lengthens and increases pliability of shortened muscles as well as fascia, the elastic web of connective tissue that ties your body together.
Supports Healthy Joints. Massage releases tension that can restrict joint movement and impair healthy circulation.
Helps correct postural problems. Your massage therapist will work related muscle groups, such as the upper back and chest, to relieve stresses that impair body alignment and make movement difficult and tiring.
Support efficient breathing. Your massage therapist will release tight muscles that restrict breathing and can work with you to establish better breathing habits.
Promotes restful sleep. Deep, restorative sleep allows your tissues time to repair naturally.
Increases body awareness. Becoming more aware of tight, painful areas can help you take steps to reduce tensions and adjust your fitness routine to improve performance and avoid injury.
Calm the nervous system. This reduces stress and anxiety which can improve focus and boost performance.
Massage for sports injuries
For an active person, an injury can be frustrating even emotionally devastating. The good news is , massage is highly effective for common sports injuries such as tendinitis, muscle strains and ligament sprains.
Because massage reduces inflammation and swelling, tissues heal faster with less discomfort. In addition, certain techniques can make scar tissue more pliable and limit its formation. Massage also relieves secondary pain in areas that may tighten up to “guard” an injury. Finally, massage can help restore range of motion and the balance between muscle groups, helping you resume activity sooner, with less pain freer movement.
The psychological edge
Whether you are competing with other or working toward personal goals of strength, flexibility and coordination, pursuing your passion requires tremendous commitment. It can draw on all your resources, physical, mental and emotional.
Massage works on all levels to help replenish what you’ve spent. It restores the body, refreshes the mind, and nurtures the spirit. Because massage supports the whole person, you gain not only a physical advantage, but a renewed drive and energy yo pursue and realize your goals.
Realize your goals with massage
Whatever your sport or fitness regimen, your massage therapist is trained to recognize and work with the unique demands it places on your body. Massage cab replenish your energy and reward your perseverance. You may find that regular massage even boosts your performance keeping your injury free and at your peak.
Understanding the pain cycle
Therapeutic massage is a simple, effective and readily available support measure for dealing with chronic pain.
The pain cycle is a complex chain of events which reinforce each other. It can begin with injury, illness or even stress, but each element can trigger or amplify another, creating a self-perpetuating cycle.
Muscle tension from stress, repetitive activity or overuse can be painful. Tense muscles are pron to injury, adding to problem. Worse, muscles automatically contract around any painful site to support and protect the area. If your original pain is not resolved, muscles may become contracted. In this way, painful muscle tension can spread, even pressing on nerves to cause tingling numbness and more pain in new areas.
Like a sponge that is squeezed, when a muscle is tight and contracted. it can’t hold much fluid so circulation is impaired. Irritating waste products can accumulate, leaving you feeling fatigued and sore.
Pain and muscle tension can make even simple actions difficult and tiring. This impairs your ability to exercise – your most important means for maintaining mobility and good circulation throughout your body. Eventually, contracted muscles and fascia can develop areas called adhesion, where tissues “adhere” to each other, further restricting movement and contributing to your pain.
Breaking the cycle
Massage can break the cycle of pain with its ability to address most of the pain cycle elements.
- Massage relieves muscle tension, stretching and kneading tight muscles and calming the nervous system
- When muscles relax, pressure on nerves is reduced, relieving related pain in distant sites.
- As massage relaxes the nervous system, blood vessels dilate to increase circulations. Irritating waste products are flushed away and replaced with healing oxygen and nutrients.
- Certain techniques increase the pliability of adhesions. Along with reduced muscle tensions, this helps prevent new injuries.
- Other massage techniques work to improve range of motion in specific areas, further helping to restore normal movement.
Stress, pain and massage
To make matters worse, chronic pain is a major source of stress. It may interrupt your sleep, leaving you tired and irritable. It drains you emotionally, robbing you of the patience and stamina you need to cope.
To the extent that massage interrupts the pain cycle, even temporarily, it reduces stress. Further, massage acts on the nervous system to relax both body and mind. You may sleep better after a massage, which helps the body heal and renews your reserves. Massage also helps you become aware of unconsciously held tension, so you can take steps to release it on your own.
Long-relief with massage
Massage therapy can help you relax and feel better while effectively addressing many elements of your pain. The effects of massage are cumulative, and for the best results you may wish to receive a series of massages In addition, follow-up massage i times of stress can help keep old pain from flaring up. In fact you may find massage so beneficial and pleasurable that you make it a regular part of your life.
The rise of cumputer use is callng attention to an increasing occurrence of repetitive strain injuries or RSi’s. Often attributed to long hours of desk work. RSI’s can develop from repeated movements during any activity at work or leisure, resulting in pain, loss of work, and decreased enjoyment of everyday life. Therapeutic massage is proving to be an effetive tool for prention and recovery from repetitive strain injuries.
What is repetitive strain injury?
Repetitive strain injuries, also known as cumulative trauma or overuse injuries, are injuries that most often occur in the soft tissues of the hand, wrist, forearm, shoulders and nect. Soft tissues include mucles, tendonds and ligaments. Tendinitis (inflamation of a tendon ), carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar facitis (inflammation of the sole of the foot) and tennis/golfer’s elbow are common types of RSIs.
Repetitive strains injuries develop from frequently repeated actions. They can be brought about by short and quick movements, or positions held constantly over time. The latter ca include gripping a computer mouse or a hammer, or sitting at a desk for long hours in an unnsupported forward head posture. People who operate computers, stand for prolonged periods of time, or use fine motor skills such as musicians, craft workers or assembly line workers are at risk for RSIs. The repeated movements cause a build up of microscopic tears in the tissues leading to inflammation, swelling and pain.
The cycle of pain and dysfunction
The body has difficulty healing from repetitive strain injuries. First, muscles tighten around the injury reducing the the normal circulation necessary for healing, in addition scar tissue begins to build in an attempt to repair tears in muscles and tendons. But scar tissue tends to be weaker and more rigid than healthy tissue and can restrict the normal action of the muscles and tendons. When repetitive movements are continued, this tissue is likey to retear, causing more inflammation and swelling.
A cycle of pain and injury can begin, leading to decreased range of motion and a further reduction in circulation. Muscles weaken because they are painful to use, and other compensatory muscles attempt to pick up the workload, often becoming oversued themselves. To make matters worse, swelling from inflammation and scar tissue may also press on nerves (as in carpal tunnel syndrome). causing additional pain and dysfunction. Help is often needed to stop the cycle.
Symptoms of repetitive strain injury
The first symptopm of an RSI Pain with specific movements. Next the pain will occur during other activities, and may last hours after you stop the activity. Other symptoms may include tingling, cold or numb like sensations, hypersensitivity, and diminished coordination and dexterity.
You may even experience symptoms in areas distant, or “referred.” from your injury. These may be caused by highly irritable spots at the injury site known as trigger points. Pain in the wrist, elbow or shoulders may also be referred from a ligament injury in your neck.
Causes of repetitive strain injury
Contributing factors to repetitive strain injuries can include: inadequate adjustment or sizing of your work station. inefficient posture or improperly supported movement fatigue. Lack of physical tone, a sudden increase in acivity or diseases such as arthritis or diabetes. Stress overload or emotional states that lead to muscle tension, such as anxiety or anger, may also increase vulnerability to RSI’s.
How can therapeutic massage help
Massage therapy can decrease pain and enhance healing in a nuber of ways. It reduces trigger points and increases pliability of scar tissue in the tendonds and other soft tissues ,movement easeier and retearing less likely.
By improving blookd and lymph circulation, massage can help reduce painful swelling, aid in the elimination of accumulated toxins, and speed pxygen and healing nutrients to the tissues.
Massage helps relax tight muscles and improve range of motion as shortened tissues are gently stretched and lengthened and lengethened, reducing stress to your affected area and decreasing the possibility of reinjury.
Massage can also be used as a preventive measure releasing tension and reducing inflammation before a repetititive strain injury develops
Your Massage therapist
Your massage therapist will be equipped to use several massage and stretching techniques to treat your particular problem, and may also incorporate hot or cold applications. Massage for injury treatment is an advanced skill. Your therapist will be happy to answer your questions about the chosen approach. training and experience in working with injuries and chronic pain.
What else can you do?
Your massage therapist may recommend additional support strategies or refer you to a physician, physical therapist occupational therapist or other health professional for more in depth help.
You will probably be given specific exercises and stretches which along with massage may be the most helful thing you can do. Ice applications for sore strained muscles and tendons may also be suggested.
You may be advised to review your work station to ensure that the positioning of your equipment suits your physical needs. Experiment with ergonomic tools that may help suuch as forearm, wrist and elbow support or a new chair.
See if you can perform your work differently to avoid reinjury. Try to work in a more relaxed way and to develop an awereness of when tension is building so that you can take a break to breathe, shake out your arms and stretch.
Massage – your ally in recovery
Repetitive strain injuries can be painful, distressing, and even frightening, especially when they trheaten the use of our bodies for work and everyday activities. Because of its remarkable ability to relieve tension, increase circulation, and reduce pain and swelling, therapeutic massage can be powerful ally in healing your injury and returning you to a life of pain free and enjoyable movement.