Ankle sprains are common injuries that can occur during sport activities, dance, exercise workouts, or simple everyday actions. Sprains can range from minor to severe and may even cause complete disability until the swelling and inflammation recedes. As a dancer you know how debilitating it can be to have a weak ankle and how important it is to recover quickly without further injury. Here are some tips to help you recover quickly from an ankle sprain, and get back to your normal activities.
The R.I.C.E Treatment
Rest, Icing, Compression, and Elevation of the affected area are the first line of defense against sprain injuries. Rest is an important measure to allow the injured tissue to heal quickly. You can avoid walking on the injured ankle by using crutches or a knee walker device like KneeRover, which allows you to rest the injured leg, keeping the foot off the floor, while you propel yourself with the uninjured leg. Sitting with the foot raised on an ottoman or padded chair will provide the elevation needed for faster healing. Icing will reduce swelling and promote healing, so it is best to place an ice pack on the area for 10 minutes, several times each day. A compression bandage will help to reduce swelling and promote faster healing as well. Make sure you stay off it and don’t try to do your normal dance or exercise routines. Making it worse will only prolong your healing time.
Eating to Promote Healing
The foods you eat should contain the nutrition needed to speed healing from injuries such as bromalain, a nutrient contained in pineapple, that reduces swelling and promotes tissue growth. Foods that contain vitamin C, such as oranges and sweet peppers, will help to heal connective tissues, and green, leafy vegetables contain beta-carotene, a key component of collagen which helps to heal ligaments. Vitamin E-rich foods, such as kale, spinach, and nuts will also aid in faster healing.
As soon as the swelling diminishes, you should begin a few gentle exercises to increase the ankle’s flexibility and improve muscle strength. Exercise could include toe raises, slow ankle rolls, and gentle stretching. Listen to your body and never push yourself too far on a weak ankle.
When the ankle has healed enough to stand comfortably, begin doing a few balance exercises, shifting your weight to the injured ankle gradually to allow the muscles that help balance your body become stronger, so you can prevent further injury.
Once you are able to walk without discomfort, your main concern should be to support the ankle to prevent re-injury. A number of braces are on the market that can provide extra support while your ankle recovers full strength and function.
Healing an ankle sprain quickly requires certain actions that reduce strain on the injured area, and promote healing in positive ways. These tips will help you to get back on your feet faster and give you the leg up you need.