by Brian Klotzman November 01, 2017

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This week, we are going to dive into the wonderful world of sprained ankles, everything from what causes them, what they actually are, and how to go about recovering from them

Of course there is a full transcript below this video if prefer :)

(this is not verbatim but its close)

Hey everybody, Brian here. In this week, we are going to dive into the wonderful world of sprained ankles, everything from what causes them, what they actually are, and how to go about recovering from them.

Now, this is not actually the topic that I actually planned on covering this week, but for those of you who follow me on Instagramknow that a couple of days ago I actually fell and sprained my ankle during one of my nightly run, so kind of seemed like a good topic to go ahead and bring up.

Of course, before I dive into this, got to remind everybody I'm not a doctor, I'm not a physical therapist or anything like that.

Obviously if you've sprained your ankle or think you may have sprained your ankle, you should go seek an actual medical professional, but I want to walk you through what I'm doing about my ankle and what my doctor prescribed that I should be jumping into.

Let's go ahead and jump into this topic.

What actually is an ankle sprain?

...just in case for some of you who don't know. Really, this is when there's some type of tearing in the ligaments inside of your ankle. Now, the most common form of this is a lateral ankle sprain, so that's a tearing on the outside part of the actual ankle itself.

It's an extremely common injury.

This can happen in pretty much any sport, but definitely in running, and what usually causes this is when you step wrong or if you hit something and so your foot ends up rolling underneath your ankle or maybe even all the way underneath your leg and you step down on it, and then you're going to end up doing come type of tearing to one or more of the ligaments that go through there.

Now, I'm lucky in my case. Mine's a relatively minor ankle sprain. Only one of the major ligaments in there suffered any type of damage, but depending on your situation, obviously, it could be considerably more severe.

Also, in a relatively rare case, there could actually be damage to the bones in this type of scenario, which is, of course, one of the reasons why you're going to want to go to a doctor to find out there is some type of fracture or any other type of more serious damage besides just some of the soft tissue damage.

When you actually do roll your ankle or twist your ankle like this and cause a sprain, you are definitely going to know it. It's going to cause an awful lot of pain. Some of the other symptoms are there'll usually be a lot of swelling in the area.

You're also typically going to see bruising. Now, both the swelling, the bruising, and the pain is actually all caused by the blood pooling in this area from actual tissue damage and sort of around this.

What we want to do is because we obviously want to minimize swelling and pain is you're going to want to apply RICE.

Now, I'm not talking about the fluffy white stuff.

You don't need go pack your ankle in this. RICE stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation.

Immediately after this injury, if it's possible, you definitely want to get ice on it, and minimum, though, you're going to want to get some level of compression on there, and get it elevated above your heart, right?

The idea here behind the compression, the ice, and the elevation is that we're drawing the blood flow away from the area, which is you're going to reduce the swelling, and therefore, also reduce the pain as well.

Once you've done this emergency triage, when you've caused an injury, that's when you're going to want to get in to see some type of medical professional afterwards, so that again like I said, you can find out if there's potentially a broken bone there or if it's a more serious injury where you've considerably actually torn one of the ligaments all the way through, in which case, you're going to need a much more aggressive treatment than if you've just strained everything.

In my case, like I said, it was just a sprained ankle. The recovery, quite frankly, it can take up to 12 months for a pretty serious sprained ankle. My doctor thinks that in my case, I'm probably looking at about three to five months for a full recovery.

Let's walk through the stages of what you actually need to do.

First Three Days

First part of recovery, these first few days, specifically the first three days, you really want to try to keep the ankle immobilized. Now my doctor gave me an air cast, these are something that you can just go buy, but basically what it is is a really heavy duty splint that wraps around both sides of the legs, you inflate it with air, and that squeezes your leg pretty good there, immobilizes your ankle. You definitely want that ankle immobilized for the first three days and really try not to put any weight on it at all. Whether that's using crutches or just sitting around, you need to try to stay off it as much as possible.

You're definitely still going to want to doing elevation pretty regularly. You're also going to want to ice it pretty regularly. Again, the idea here is you're trying to keep the swelling and therefore the pain, down.

Days 4 to 10

Now, after the first three days, when you shift into that first week, that four to 10 days after you've actually hurt, then this is when you're going to be able to start introducing being able to bear weight on the ankle. You're going to want to introduce it slowly. Just doing a little bit of walking. You're going to want to make sure you're staying on flat surfaces. You're definitely going to want to wear that splint whenever you are actually up and about, but still taking frequent rest periods, right?

Rest is that first R in RICE, which is still applying here. The idea here is to slowly build yourself up to the point where you can actually bear weight on your ankle.

Days 11 to 17

Then now we're switching into the second week out, so this is like days 11 to 17 after your injury. You should assuming at this point that you've been able to walk without any pain start to actually introduce some light jogging. Again we're looking for flat surfaces here, straight directions, no curves. Don't want to be dealing with any sudden stops or anything like that. No football or basketball cutting or anything like that. Just a little jogging. Starting to really start to slowly build up some of our stamina.

Days 18 to 24

We move forward into the third week here, so days 18 to 24-ish is what my doctor had suggested is probably when I'll actually be able to start going back into a more easy run period. Again, we're not talking about anything fancy here, no cuts or quick stops or anything like that. Starting to introduce some curves are okay now, so it doesn't have to be just pure straightaways.

Day 25 Onward

He said after about 25 days, I can probably go back to resuming my normal training regimen. Now his recommendation and I think it's a good one is that after I get rid of that air cast which in my case is probably going to be around day 10-ish, to still wear a splint of some sort when I'm actually doing exercises or anything like that.

Now there's a lot of folks at my Taekwondo studio who use a McDavid splint, so I've actually ordered one of those for myself so that when I actually do get to that day, 10, 11 whatever when I'm out of the air cast, I'd be able to use that. I'll provide a link to the one that I got. They've been very happy with it and I figure if it's good enough for use in Taekwondo for people who have in one case broken an ankle at some point in the past, it's probably good enough for my rehab phases for running. He did say could take up to 12 months for everything to get fully healed, but it looks like after about 25 to 30 days or so, I should be back into a full normal running regimen for myself.

Rehab

One other thing that I did fail to mention earlier is once you get past that immobilization state, there are a variety of rehab exercises that you could do and should do while you're building that stamina up. The one that I'm going to be following and the one that my doctor really directed me to is actually being able to spell out the alphabet with your foot. You're raising your leg up there in the air and using your foot to actually spell it, A, B, C, the whole alphabet. You know the alphabet, I'm not going to recite it for you. Anyway, that's where we're at. Hopefully here in a few weeks, I will be back up to running all the time, especially since I'm only two months and about a week out for my next marathon.

I'm definitely jonesing to get back out there and get moving again, but hopefully everybody else is staying safe, be careful, watch out for potholes. Just watch where you're stepping so hopefully you don't sprain your ankle. If you do now, hopefully I've given you a few tips on how to actually go about your rest and recovery.

Again, see your doctor.

I know I wasn't going to, but my wife very wisely was like, "No, no. You need to go, you need to go. You need to make sure."

I'm glad I did now even though in my case, it was probably rest would have largely solved my problems. You never know if there is going to be small fracture or something like that in there and definitely in this case, it's definitely better safe than sorry.

Anyway, everybody have a great week and I will see you all next week.

Brian Klotzman
Brian Klotzman



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