Strains and Sprains
Very gentle massage can be used to ease the pain and swelling caused by both sprains and strains. A sprain is caused by the abnormal wrenching and twisting of a joint. A strain is a torn or stretched muscle.
At the first opportunity, place a cold compress, such as an ice pack or a packet of frozen peas (wrapped in a towel or piece of clothing), on the injured area to reduce inflammation.
The ankle is the most commonly sprained part of the body. If the ankle is very swollen and painful, consult a doctor before massaging to rule out the possibility of a dislocation or fraction. Very gentle massage can help reduce swapping and treat pain. Massage for at least 10 minutes, and repeat several times a day. Continue this treatment for about a week or until the injury is healed.
Start by gently stroking up the thigh toward the lymph nodes in the groin.
Stroke up the sides of the calf to the knee, and glide gently back down to the ankle.
Stroke extremely gently with short upward movements all around the ankle using your thumbs.
A sprained wrist can be treated in much the same way, stroking gently towards the lymph nodes in the armpits and the elbow.
Never attempt to massage a sprained knee without first obtaining a doctor's consent.
It is estimated that the average person walks about a thousand miles (1600 km) in a year, so it is staggering to imagine what ground a runner or ballerina must cover. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that so many people suffer from aching feet. Badly fitting shoes or sneakers, foot injuries, and corn, callouses, and bunions can all exacerbate the problem.
There are various simple techniques that are eminently suitable for pre-and post-event self-massage. Before the event, self-massage complements stretching; use direct pressure on trigger points and any tight areas. Post-event self-massage can help combat muscle stiffness and fatigue.
Kneel with your ankles crossed. Place your hands on the floor for balance if you feel wobbly. Your bodyweight will stretch the area above your ankles. Rock forwards and change the angle of your ankles until the stretch feels effective.
While placed on the floor with your legs bent in front of you, clasp the toes and ball of one foot with your hands and pull back toward you. This stretches the foot and calf muscles, aiding flexibility. Repeat on the other foot.
Feet, thighs, and hips
With your feet tucked under you, raise your body so that your weight is transferred through your arms. Shift your bodyweight until you feel it passing through your knuckles. Then massage into the soles of your feet with your knuckles. If you push your hips forward, this also becomes an effective stretch for the quadriceps muscles (the large muscles at the front of the thighs) and the front of the hips.