Okay, so you are one of the 25,000 people that sprained their ankle today. You are definitely not alone. And everyone will tell you to elevate your ankle, ice it and rest. Right? That is known as the old RICE routine. Unfortunately, everyone in rehab circles now knows that this form of treatment for a sprained ankle is outdated and pretty much ineffective. It is slow and a very mediocre way to heal an ankle sprain at best. At worst, it does not really heal your ankle at all. Here is why…
First, the main component of this so called ankle treatment is the ice. Well, do you know that ice is only considered clinically effective at reducing swelling for the first 48 hours? That means after 2 days from the injury, ice is not effective. But, unfortunately, very few people understand this very simple fact. And they just keep icing their ankle, hoping it will reduce the swelling. It won’t.
Second, rest is a good thing for an injury. No one would debate that. But, rehab pros agree with that 100% rest idea to the exclusion of anything else. Where they differ from everyone else is that rest is not the only thing you should be doing. Rest is good for about 95% of the day. The other 5% needs to be proactive rehab for your ankle. Without that, you cannot and will not get your ankle back to full strength. Even when your ankle “feels” better, it will still be very weak and stiff. In fact, did you know that up to 30% of people still have pain in their ankles up to 1 year after an injury?
So, a good ankle sprain rehab program is critical to your healthy recovery. Not only that, it has been shown over and over that a good rehab program will reduce the healing time significantly. For example, the typical recovery time for a sprained ankle with rest and ice is 4-8 weeks. With a good ankle rehab program, you can reduce that to about 3 – 7 days. The body tends to respond incredibly well to good and active rehab techniques.
As I have said, not only does this dramatically reduce healing time, but it also significantly reduces the risk of future ankle. Think about it… your ankle will be much stronger and able to withstand the twisting forces that cause a sprain. If you don’t do anything, your ankle will be weak and stiff for a long time. You will be at a much higher risk of injury without good rehab.
With ankle sprains, you will not be very mobile. So, it is best to find a rehab program you can do easily and at home. Also, you will want the rehab program to address all the issues from the injury (weakness, stiffness, swelling, bruising, scar tissue etc… ). The rehab needs to get you back to full health and most importantly, ensure you are at a lower risk of future injury.
The best part about a good rehab program is that it will dramatically reduce your healing time. Instead of a few months, your sprained ankle should be healed up in about a week. That is the beauty of proper rehab.