Recently NBA’s Warrior guard Steph Curry has been cleared to make his return to the court from a sprained ankle injury has sidelined him since the beginning of December. Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries among athletes and in the general population. Curry has had a history of sprained ankles throughout his basketball career, but ankle sprains can happen to you just as easily (look out for that black ice). Here’s how we recommend approaching an ankle injury.
The first call to action when an injury occurs should always be R.I.C.E.
Rest. Rest and protect the injured or sore area (in this instance that would be your ankle). Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness.
Ice. Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack right away to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat to the area that hurts. Do not apply ice or heat directly to the skin. Place a towel over the cold or heat pack before applying it to the skin.
- Compression. Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease swelling. Don’t wrap it too tightly, because this can cause more swelling below the affected area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight. Signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area below the bandage. Talk to your doctor if you think you need to use a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours; a more serious problem may be present.
- Elevation. Elevate the injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.
Now that you’ve rested and reduced the pain and swelling with the R.I.C.E. method, you can now start exercising and rehabilitating that ankle to increase its strength and mobility.
Some exercises and treatments that can be done include:
Towel Scrunches– To do this exercise, place a towel flat under your foot and using only the muscles of your toes proceed to scrunch the towel and pull the towel towards your body. The towel scrunch can help you regain proper activation of the muscles that build the arch of your foot and can you help develop better balance and stability.
Marble Pickup– This exercise uses marbles to strengthen the muscles in the foot to prevent plantar fasciitis and heel pain. Sit in a chair with both feet in front. Scatter small pebbles or marbles so that they can be picked up with your toes. Place a water glass or mug in the slightly out front of you and try to pick up the marbles with your toes. After picking up a marble, grip with your toes and try to place it in the mug. • Bosu ball – The Bosu ball is a semi-circled half-disc designed to provide a safe, yet unstable, surface for you to train on. Training on an unstable surface like the Bosu ball will increase the challenge on your ankle joint and cause you to develop better ankle control.
Kinesio taping – kinesio tape pulls up skins, and is used for swelling, activating muscles, and inhibiting muscles if over active. When kinesio tape is placed on the skin, it pulls up the upper layers of skin, creating more space between the dermis and the muscle. The space created is to relieve pressure on the lymph channels in the area between the muscle and the dermis, creating more space for lymph flow and thus better lymph drainage through an affected area.
Game Ready Tech – the Game Ready equipment uses active compression and cold therapy technology that is great for patients who have musculoskeletal injuries muscles spasms and swelling. It takes R.I.C.E. to a new level working as a compressed ice pack circulating cold water from the control unit’s ice reservoir, via a connector hose, through an inner chamber of the anatomical wrap (this chamber is located closest to the body) before returning to the ice reservoir.
- NormaTec – similar to Game Ready tech, NormaTec uses compression for the lower extremities using boots. It is good for athletes and anyone who may have poor circulation. During a session in the boots, the attachments will mold to the limbs and work as a massage, compressing in a pulsatile manner and then release. This enhances blood flow and lymphatic fluid removal.
If you are suffering from an ankle injury or any other kind of joint injury that you would like to rehabilitate and exercise in a safe manner, NJ Spine and Wellness will assist you using these different exercises and high tech equipment such as NormaTec and Game Ready to help you return to the court or your normal life!