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Sprained Ankle Advice Requested

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,
3 weeks ago I sprained my ankle, I did a real job on it! Sad
An xray, drs advice later, and it's still swollen and sore. According to A&E and Dr, as it was a 'bad' sprain I can expect 2 or 3 months recovery! I've been through the raise it, rest it, ice it, strap it phases. Latest was mobilise it more. Co-codomol, and Ibuprofen have all been used and still are available.

I was hoping for a short early season break in Val Thorens in December and was planning some fittness and ski practise on a indoor slope starting soon. At the moment, as I am having trouble walking on the flat, anything else seems a non-starter. What I'm after is advice about the best way to speed along the recovery.

What I dont want to do is limp along then find out out 'if only you'd have done xxxx'.

Any advice appreciated.
Thanks.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
have you done a bit of hot to cold.

Also get a vulcan or similar (neopreen *sp) support, the heat from that helps. Wear it all the time
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Ankle ligaments are notoriously slow to heal.. in some repects you'd recover quicker from a break..in that at least the ankle would be immobile...
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BMF_Skier, I'm a GP with a previous bad ankle sprain (needed 4 weeks in plaster) and a calf muscle rupture (after which I could ski but not walk)

The bad news: sprains are worse than simple (unimalleolar without diastasis) fractures and often your ankle only gets back to 90% of what it was. It may let you down and feel unreliable for years to come. Walking or running - especially on uneven ground can be tough/

The good news: Skiboots protect and support your ankle in lateral deviation. Once the pain and swelling has settled down I would be tempted to give the indoor slope a go and try your best to maintain fitness in other body/leg areas.

Very little evidence that supports do any good and some recent data re ankle sprains suggests bandaging/supports actually make healing and pain last longer.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
These comments confirm what i've been told so far. So it's good to know that I'm on the right track. Have done the hot cold and all other variations of raising and rest. Maybe I'm just a little impatient. wink
Re the supports, I was using one and it did help at first. But later, I felt that wearing seemed detrimental, mobility affected and pain appear to increase afterwards.
I'm not giving up on December yet, just going to take it easy until nearer the time.
Many thanks.
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Find a good sports Physio....

(Maybe invest in a dyna disc? See physio as above)...

I have 1 ankle with very damaged ligaments(physio says uurrrrgghh) and 1 with just badly damaged ligaments... constant work on ankles helps a bit... I have to admit to being "bad" of late and not working ankles enough... Will have to knuckle down when I get home or physio and instructors will strangle me...
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I badly sprained an ankle almost exactly a year ago and still get some swelling and pain from time to time. Walking is sometimes not brilliant (hiking requires decent boots plus ibuprofen) but skiing is no problem at all, the boot takes all the strain. Toofy Grin That seems to accord with what stoatsbrother says.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
BMF_Skier, it's as stoatsbrother's said - it's going to be a long haul. My advice is keep it moving and only very slowly increase work under tension and always only within reasonable comfort.
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Find a good physio, definitely.

I spraiend my foot - admittedly not a bad sprain, but only 1 week before a ski holiday. I was gutted! I had physio several times that week, and although when I went away walking was still painful - ice was a struggle!! i was able to ski, albeit with small amount of discomfort - ski boots are very supportive.
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I badly sprained my ankle a couple of years ago playing rugby (huge prop landing on it when it was facing the wrong way...) Was quite painful. Was told that it would be at least three months until it would be 'better' even though it wouldn't be 'healed'. I then went to a chiropractor (I always go to a chiropractor for joint problems and a physio for muscle issues), about two months later and I was back in training and a couple of weeks after that I was playing again, and it feels as strong as ever. If I got the idea right, a chiro will work on the ligaments, breaking down the damaged part so that it re-grows properly - similar to how a physio will work on your muscle. (Also had great results with a chiro after suffering a back-sprain earlier this year).
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Think you were lucky Skisimon. Or, perhaps being a rugby player you were more than usualy strong/fit in the ankle department ? Ankles sprains can be slow to heal and a degree of residual weakness is quite common. A useful device for strengthening the ankle (once you can properly weight bear) is a wobble board (sports shopslike Wiggle sell them). Simple exercises such as balancing in turn on each foot with eyes closed are also quite useful. Thinks it`s probably worth going to see a decent sport physio sooner rather than later.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I had a bad one at college and like someone earlier was in plaster. Never been the same since, limited movement and always going ver on it. The more you go over the less the swelling and after pain
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
BMF_Skier, if it is still swolen when you ski, be prepareed to invest in a new pair of boots when the swelling goes down. Mine never recovered from the stretching. (My ankle was quite big when swolen!)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks everyone, for this information and advice.
The swelling is huge and very firm at the moment and its rather tender, to say the least. Even wearing shoes is an issue, so am taking it easy. Physio seems a good way forward and I'm trying to keep it moving while not causing a reaction. Biggest issues at the moment are uneven ground and stairs. Difficult when there's no lift at work and on the first floor! Onward..... it's got to get better.... Smile
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Renry wrote:
Also get a vulcan or similar (neopreen *sp) support, the heat from that helps. Wear it all the time

I was advised by a physio that supports should only be used in the first couple weeks of the injury and must never be worn 'all the time', i.e. they should never be worn in bed.

As everyone has advised, get yourself along to a physio who will provide you with exercises to help with your injury. Best of luck with your recovery.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Ligaments stretch and take a long time to knit back...it is why sports people might have the ligament stitched together as it takes out the slack and saves times in rehab. The rest of us have to let time take care of it.
There will be a risk of re-injuring it as the ligament will not support it..hence the short term use of supports. I would say, from experience only, that you will not be seeing much improvent inside 6 weeks. After that is is a question of not aggravating it and setting it back.

I would think that December isn't unrealistic unless a nasty sprain.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I badly sprained my ankle in July 1999 (before I became a ski addict in December 2001!) & I'd say it's still weak now as I kept off it too much at the time. I have sprained it on several occasions since (last Saturday being one of them - I trod on a stone when walking down some steps & went over on ankle so it's swollen today) but even when it's at it's worst I've managed to ski on it - getting boots on can sometimes hurt a bit but once they are on my ankle is much more comfortable.
Downside is that it can be quite painful when you take your boots off & start walking on it but sitting at the bar with a few pain killing beers seems to help!!! Madeye-Smiley
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
BMF_Skier, I am a repeat sprainer with 'floppy' ankles! Ski boots are still their happy place though....sure you will be fine by December. I would be more concerned about it off the slopes than on. Watch out for the any ice about town or stepping into deep powdery snow (we all wish in December!!). Some good walking boots would probably be worth investing in.
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The doc's right. RICE. Rest. Ice. Compression. and Elevation. There are many different sprains. If there is no discoloration (Yea I'm a Yank) And it's still sore its probably in the tendon. If there's much discoloration it's a muscle tear or the tendon pulling from the muscle. Either way follow the docs orders and RICE. Most bad sprains take three to six months to heal.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
BMF_Skier, I sprained my ankle quite badly a year ago last August. didn't rest enough - crammed it into ski boots (well, I had to work) but did have physio as soon as I realised it wasn't going away. My ankle is still a tad swollen, still painful on occasions, but I never did stop skiing (I had to put some different inners in though). The things that cause me trouble are all hopping exercises, skiing on one foot, and walking in ski boots. If I manage to avoid these three .... Happy recovery. Very Happy
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BMF_Skier, managed to snap my 'anterior talo fibular ligament' (think that was the one) 3 days before I went skiing for the first time! Its the thing that stops your ankle rolling over. It was a bit of a pain as the local A&E just said it was a bad sprain!! Told them it made one hell of a snapping noise when it went over and was told that noises just happen sometimes! Had a very similar thing from my GP, just a bad sprain don't over stress it for 4-6 weeks and it should be fine. About 3 weeks after ski hol was still insanely swollen (wouldn't fit into work shoes), and after going to the A&E to get the same answers went to see a sports physio at the local rugby club. Took him about a minute to tell me what was wrong.
Ended up being referred to a surgeon and having minor 'experimental' ankle ligament reconstruction! Absolutely fine now though, no pains or anything, and is probably stronger than when i screwed it up!
My advise is pretty much see a sports physio who is likely to deal with twisted ankles, etc on a regular basis. They tend to have more knowledge in this field than a GP or nurse. And don't worry about December - if still painful then just find some good painkillers - the adrenaline kind of takes over after a few hours! Twisted Evil
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Broady, welcome to snowHead
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Cycling is a very good form of mobilisation for rehab of ankle ligaments. I tore my ankle ligaments very badly, many years ago, in a rugby club training session, and could barely walk for a week.

I had very intensive sports physio (lots of ultrasound) and was urged to cycle a lot (since that was my primary mode of transport, it wasn't difficult!) - as this provided a good range of movement with low impact. I made a complete recovery in about 6 weeks.

(I was only 23 at the time, and I used to heal a lot quicker in those days).

So, bottom line, I'd suggest (i) consulting a dedicated sports physio or orthopod, plus (ii) some long sessions on a bike every day (real ones are less boring than exercise bikes, but you can control the intensity better on the latter). Take a break from the regime if this seems to inflame the injury.
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i'm am getting about much better now and i'm now booked into a physio. We'll see what transpires. It's still the stairs that give me a reminder. From recent experience, it is mobilisation that's as important, in my case, as rest. This sprain really caught me by surprise, i've had others, but I've never experienced anything like this. Supposed to be walking in the Lakes in 4 weeks time so gently does it. Or maybe..... what else can I do to agrivate it? wink
Jan 2007 booked , ValThorens and Courchevel (again). As I said in other postings, i'm far too comfortable in these resorts, although I may give LDA a checkout this year.
I now need another holiday, to get over the holiday I had!
Whatever transpires , it will be better by January! Smile
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Another trial publsihed in the last week or so has shown no reduction in pain or increase in stability with a programme of exercises after ankle sprains...

In other words - not much has yet been shown to work better than doing nothing!
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BMF_Skier,

just don't 'go over it again'...sounds like a pretty regular sprain to me...your timetable is on your side, IMV.

If the bruise is out, you just have to wait for the ligament to knit back ( takes ages, months, IME) ...which is where the danger is for re-injuring it again.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Sport physio has confirmed most of the suggestons above and had a litle chuckle when I explained my travel plans to the PSB! Loks like the bar is going to be the main hang out. wink
The recovry wasn't helped when I tripped and went over on it last weekend. I thought the initial accident was painfull, this time was even more interesting! Sad Physio doesnt think ive snapped anything but, with the rehab suggested it should confirm things soon. Trying to get the swelling down initially and relearn the ankle a bit. Simple movement excercises 4 times a day. other times rest, no stairs particularly going down them, no sport (for the time being), tubegrip during the day (off at night), ibuprofen, raised when I can, ice. Review due in a few days.
Thanks for the advice guys!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I sprained my ankle 4 days before I was going to ski! It was a massive dissapointment when it happened as I had been looking forward to the ski trip for a very long time. At first I didnt really thought it was that bad as it didnt swell or anything. It did hurt, yes, but I was able to stand on it. I lay down on the floor with my foot raised up against a wall. Later that evening I looked at it again and it looked like a small tennis ball on side of my ankle! At that point I thought my ski trip had just been ruined. Would it be able to fit in the boot at all? The next day I went to school but I was only able to limp and it hurt. I went to see a doctor and he wasnt able to tell if I would be ready for skiing but he advised ice and elevation. He said it wasnt a mild sprain nor a major. The only thing I did the day before I was going to leave was to elevate and ice my ankle. That meant to elevate against a wall for 1 hour and then ice it for 20 minutes and then just repeat that for the rest of the day. It was extremely boring and I didnt see nor feel any improvement to be honest and I am really not able to tell if that was what made the difference. It was still very swollen and I still felt pain when walking normally. I left for the ski trip still VERY uncertain if I would be able to ski. Before even trying to take ski boots on I “taped” my foot up with some sportstape and took 2 pills Ibuprofen. When I put my foot info the boot I didnt feel any pain at all and when I started walking I only felt a little. Skiing was no problem neither and I felt very lucky and I was very happy. It can be a small problem to take your foot out of the boot again and I felt some pain when doing that. I was skiing for four days and it went much better than I had dared to hope. So here is what worked for me and what could possibly help you:

REMEMBER I am not a doctor or anything but I have just tried this for myself and here is what worked for me:

- Rest as much as possible in the beginning

- Elevate for 1 hour, then ice for 20 minutes and repeat that as much as possible

- Go see a doc (I might well have done without but it is a good idea to see for a possible fracture, etc.)

- Before skiing tape your ankle up. It worked as a miracle cure against the swelling for me. Seriuosly, an hour after I had taped it the swelling was very close to non existing (But it turns blue) It can be a very simple one (Search the internet for a quick tutorial/guide. Together with the boot this really keeps your ankle in place and supports it and it helped me a lot.

- Take Ibuprofen half an hour before you go ski (This is of course not something that you should just do, but it really helped me). Then take some more 4 hours after.
Ex: take two pills for breakfast and then another two for lunch. READ THE PACKAGE LEAFLET CAREFULLY BEFORE DOING ANYTHING

Remeber guys, the ski boot is extremely supportive around your leg and it nearly works as a splint for your ankle

Good luck, hope this was helpfull!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Kind of you to advise. I’m assuming the OPs ankle is better after 13 years.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Skier1234122, welcome to Snowheads.
I wonder if you had noticed this thread had gone to sleep in October 2017?
Always tricky deciding how to do your first post.
Glad your ankle got sorted. snowHead
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Jonpim, 2007!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Whoops. A slip of the finger. 2007 it is. rolling eyes
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Skier1234122, welcome, and I'm glad you managed to go skiing only a few days after doing this - I can fully emphasise with the concern you would have had! I sustained a Grade 2 sprain to my ankle at the beginning of the year, luckily a bit longer before I was due to go skiing, and don't think I could have faced putting on ski boots so soon. I wasn't actually sure how my skiing would go until the last minute (when I finally got my ski boots on the evening before we travelled). To be fair, I probably could have forced them on before this, but I think the taking on/off process would have been pretty painful until ~3 weeks after the injury, when I started to be able to walk fairly normally and to see some rapid improvement and significant reduction in pain!

For anyone else who finds themselves in a similar situation, I'd also add that it's worth getting yourself to a physio if you can – the sooner you start doing rehab exercises, the better. Seeing as I had a ski holiday booked 3.5 weeks after my injury and a marathon in 8.5 weeks, I was desperate to recover as quickly as possible so was really diligent about doing the exercises regularly, and my recovery has been quicker than originally estimated by two physios who saw my ankle within the first week, so I'm guessing this has helped! Obviously you may be very limited in what you can do at first, but gentle ankle circles etc are usually recommended very soon (from 2 days or so) after the injury - there's a lot of info online about the kind of exercises that would be prescribed, but a physio can advise you on how much is feasible/sensible to do for your injury personally and how quickly you can progress. (From a cardio perspective, I was able to start gentle cycling at the gym after a few days, which helped too – I gradually built this up and then added pool jogging/elliptical cross-trainer and was cleared to ease back into running after just over 5 weeks.) Gentle massage/stretching/manipulation by the physio also seemed to help both mobility and swelling in the first 2 to 3 weeks.

The other important thing I've learned is that it's crucial to add in balancing exercises (standing on one leg, first of all on the flat, then progressing to an uneven surface such as a pillow or wobble board and moving the other leg around to indicate the points of a compass etc - again, loads of examples can be found online). When you sprain your ankle, your proprioception will be affected because of the nerve damage, so even when the ankle feels pretty strong, you are at greater risk of tripping over etc accordingly. My physio really stressed this to me and said that many people neglect this part of the rehab.

Although my ankle (after just over 6 weeks) is still not 100%, skiing was definitely good rehab for it Toofy Grin I did take it easy at first and am far from an aggressive or fast skier anyway, but as said above, the ski boot feels very protective. Also, my injured ankle dorsiflexion was practically non-existent before I went skiing (a bit of a worry) but was magically restored to normal after a few days of skiing! I still have a bit of swelling over the ankle bone, but luckily this didn't seem enough to be bothersome in the ski boot, and it was no worse after each day of skiing either.
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