Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries among athletes and active individuals, and, if boot camp fitness is your training modality of choice, you maybe particularly susceptible.
Listed below are five great tools that will help you recover faster and get back on your feet before you know it.
1. Canes and Crutches
It is most common to experience ankle injuries during games or tough workouts. As soon as you injure your ankle, one of the best things you can do is keep your weight off it as much as possible.
While you should be resting whenever you can, there will, of course, be times when you do have to get up and move around. For athletes who do experience sprains during games, using a cane or a pair of crutches during recovery can help relieve pressure on your ankle while you are moving from one place to another.
Crutches are good for severe ankle sprains, as you can totally take your weight off the affected ankle while you use them. However, crutches can be quite bulky and difficult to manoeuvre when you are getting out of a car or trying to move through a narrow aisle.
Because of this, some people prefer folding canes, which are compact as easy to store in a bag or under your desk when you are not using them.
2. Compression Ice Pack
After resting, icing and compressing are the next two most important things to do after you have experienced any kind of injury, including an ankle sprain. Ice helps to reduce pain and swelling, as does compression. Compression also improves blood flow to the affected area, which speeds up the healing process.
You could strap a bag of frozen peas to your ankle using an old ACE bandage. Or, you could look for an ice pack that doubles as a compression wrap.
There are many ice packs like this available on the market, and they make it easy for you to ice your ankle and while also adding some gentle compression. You definitely will not have to worry about this kind of ice pack sliding off or leaking all over the place.
3. Resistance Band
Once the pain starts to heal and the swelling in your ankle starts to go down, you will be ready to start building some of your strength back up.
While you should not try to jump right back into your old activities – especially if they include dynamic/explosive exercises like burpees or box jumps – some gentle resistance exercises can go a long way when it comes to strengthening the ankle and improving range of motion to speed up healing and prevent future injuries.
A rubber resistance band is one of the best and most affordable tools you can use to start strengthening your ankle. You can get these bands at any sporting goods store. Some of the best exercises you can do with them include:
- Pointing and flexing with the band wrapped around your toes; and
- “Writing” the alphabet with your toes while pulling back the band.
Do these exercises a few times a day to improve blood flow to your ankle and minimise scar tissue buildup.
4. TENS Machine
If you have a particularly stubborn ankle sprain, you might want to try using a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine. This device sends an electrical current through the skin to stimulate the nerves, strengthen the muscles, and provide pain relief.
Researchers believe that TENS machines are effective for two reasons:
- The electrical current sent by the machine interferes with the body’s pain signal transmission and blocks the gateway through which pain travels; and
- It stimulates the release of the body’s naturally occurring pain-relieving substances to help you feel better, faster.
5. Ankle Brace
When you start feeling better and think you are ready to get back in the game, remember that your recovery probably is not totally over yet. After you have sprained an ankle once, your chances of spraining it again increase.
To prevent future injuries, consider utilising an ankle brace to provide extra support and help you move your ankle through a proper range of motion while participating in your favourite activities.
Ankle sprains are common, and, if you are doing intense forms of exercise like boot camp classes regularly, you are more likely to experience one.
You do not have to let a sprained ankle keep you down, though. Keep these tools on hand so that, should you hurt yourself, you will be prepared to treat your injury and speed up your recovery process.