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How to recover from sprained ankles?


Original Post
Ethan Ayer · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0

I had a climbing accident last Sunday where I sprained both ankles, with the left foot being worse than the right.  Currently, I'm on crutches but I can get around the house without them.  I am already doing range of motion stretches twice a day.  Any recommendation for rehabilitation for climbing for the next couple of months? I love all sorts of outdoor climbing, toprope, sport, and trad.

Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Other than go to a PT?

For me what brought me back faster than anything was the Graston technique. Unfortunately it’s not DYI you have to have a PT that is certified. And since we’re not doctors who knows if it’s even appropriate for you.

Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

ETA it hurts like hell and you’ll cry for your momma. 

AndyMac · · Center, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 603

soak them in some good cold H2O for 5min or so.  Should get the swelling down to bring back ROM as well as all the other goodness of not letting inflammation stick around too long.
Too simple not to try and you can't do any harm.  I've been back to climbing in ~a week from my past ankle sprains.
Climbing is good because you can TR and stay in control to keep those ankles safe.  Probably more risk walking to the cliff.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

Don't mess around or skimp on the pt and recovery. I sprained my ankle pretty badly years ago and stayed off it for weeks and did the pt and it's never bothered me since.

Everyone I know who's rushed rehab because they can't wait to climb again has had long term issues with their ankles.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 121

Your ankles will probably never be the same.

If you don't do the proper PT, it'll be even worse.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 121
Adrienne DiRosario wrote: For me what brought me back faster than anything was the Graston technique. Unfortunately it’s not DYI you have to have a PT that is certified. And since we’re not doctors who knows if it’s even appropriate for you.
Interesting that you say that it's not DIY! I've def. done this to myself using like cocoa butter, and a butter knife. I would bring it up with a PT to see if it would be right for any particular case, but it all seems simple enough.

Most of the ankle PT I do is on the, "fairly painful" side of things.
Sam Cieply · · Venice, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 20

You can do scraping/graston to yourself pretty effectively. I would recommend this tool: wavetoolstherapy.com

I sprained my ankle really badly a year ago. Tore the ligaments and stayed off it for two months, then carefully got back to hiking and climbing. I also used the "voodoo flossing" technique quite a bit while returning to full function. I carried these mobility band things with me, and would stop periodically to take my ankles through their full range of motion while tightly wrapped in the bands. It seems to break up scar tissue much like the graston technique, also I think the short term blood restriction has some benefits. Maybe it's voodoo, but I did feel that it helped rejuvenate my ankle.

NorCalNomad · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 105

Just remember that soft/ connective tissue takes longer than bones to heal :(

another +1 for not skimping on PT/ rehab

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Do what the doctor and PT tell you. Don't climb unless it's approved by your doc. Don't rush it.

Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0
Long Ranger wrote: Interesting that you say that it's not DIY! I've def. done this to myself using like cocoa butter, and a butter knife. I would bring it up with a PT to see if it would be right for any particular case, but it all seems simple enough.

Most of the ankle PT I do is on the, "fairly painful" side of things.

Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. You can cause damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,365

Pour some coffee on them.

Ethan Ayer · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0
Tradiban wrote: Pour some coffee on them.
Thanks, I did this but not on purpose int he first couple days around the house   
  Thanks for the advice.  I already have some simple range of motion exercises that I was given and I have my first PT appointment on Wednesday.  I understand that sprains can take longer than fractures.  I'm making in it my priority to make a recovery, whether it means being patient or drawing the alphabet with my foot three times a day.  I really don;t know the severity of the sprains, although the left is worse.
Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,365
Ethan Ayer wrote: Thanks, I did this but not on purpose int he first couple days around the house   
  Thanks for the advice.  I already have some simple range of motion exercises that I was given and I have my first PT appointment on Wednesday.  I understand that sprains can take longer than fractures.  I'm making in it my priority to make a recovery, whether it means being patient or drawing the alphabet with my foot three times a day.  I really don;t know the severity of the sprains, although the left is worse.

Seriously though, don't worry about it. Can you put any weight on either? It's just going to take time and that time will vary from person to person, you will know when you can start climbing again. Remember, the placebo effect is real!

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 121
Adrienne DiRosario wrote:

Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. You can cause damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

How?

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 617

The first time I had a severely sprained ankle and went to PT, they did three cycles of heat followed by ice. 5 minutes each so a total of 30 min.
And not just hot wraps and cold wraps but full immersion into buckets. I’m a believer. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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