A couple of months ago, my daughter suffered a sprained ankle after doing a front tuck on the trampoline at the gym. Right? Are you serious?
I attacked this problem the same way I attack most things. In a frenzy, I started to research, searching for things like “best way to heal a sprained ankle” and “fast recovery from sprained ankle”. I also looked for a lot more than that though. If this type of research is going to be productive and lead to a legitimate answer or solution, you must understand what you are asking.
I thoroughly researched sprained ankles and the difference between a sprain and a strain and what the mainstream medical community was recommending as treatment. I learned about the anatomy of an ankle and how treatments effect recovery.
For my dd, it was important to come back quickly and at the same level of productivity as before she started. You know how it is, they don’t have the option of getting back to “normal activity”, they must be super human. I also have a healthy skepticism about mainstream medicine and how helpful some of their suggestions are, so I am more open to the alternatives than most. I only feel this way because of our extensive interaction with that community when dealing with my daughter’s back injury as well as my own battle with a pretty debilitating pain issue. In the end I found someone to help my daughter and cured myself of that same debilitating pain using this exact style of research.
I have found that doctors and PTs (at least the many vastly experienced, respected and high quality ones I have dealt with) have a limited ability to think outside of the box. Gymnasts are different. They are ten-year-old little girls with a greater strength to weight ratio than most adult professional athletes. We found that the exercises given and regimens prescribed couldn’t match her strength and abilities and while doing little to help, our practitioners were not able to adapt to her needs or find a solution for her. Eventually they told us maybe it was time to find a different sport. Well, three years later my dd is still pursuing her gymnastics dreams, is healthy and stronger than ever, thanks to a practitioner who finally “got it” and was willing to do his own research to help her.t
Ah crap, I digress. Don’t worry, I am sure that entire story will get told at some point.
Anyway, back to ankle recovery. As I said, I educated myself a bit and went looking for an alternative. This led me to the method I am going to talk about now and she was back in the gym on day 4 (this included a weekend) and tumbling on the rod floor at the end of week three. I also got confirmation from a practitioner that she sees regularly this was sound advice and that her ankle was healing well. She does have a little scar tissue that we will need to break up now that she is no longer in any pain, but overall we are about six weeks out and she is fully practicing without any modification and is almost ready to ditch the brace, which is simply there at this point for her confidence and comfort.
I should take a moment to say that this program does not recommend bracing, but we did use a brace just at the gym. It was much more comfortable for her to feel that security as she healed and I believed it helped a lot. Outside of the gym, she never wore the brace.
BTW, the brace we used was the Shock Doctor 851 Ultra Wrap Laced Ankle Brace. She said it is very comfortable and allows her good range of motion while making her ankle feel stable even now when she is tumbling and vaulting with her regular rigor.
The healing method we used is the HEM Ankle Rehab protocol. It throws down in the face of the traditional RICE methods. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation has always been what we all have been told, but research is finding that this may not be the best method, that recovery rates are long and outcomes not ideal for many patients with a sprained ankle.
I know I have heard many times around the gym that doctors have told gymnasts and parents that they would have been better off breaking a bone than with a bad sprain/strain, which take much longer and are mare difficult to heal. Soft tissue damage is serious business. But could some of this be that they might be going about it in not the most ideal fashion? I can’t say that for sure, but I can say that the HEM Ankle Rehab system makes sense to me based on what I do know and that it worked for my daughter and she is back training full-out within the same or even faster time frame than if she had broken that bone.
This method takes a different approach. It attempts to work with the body’s natural healing mechanisms, using blood flow and the lymphatic system to enhance the body’s own ability to heal the injury. RICE actually constricts blood flow to the injury and limits the ability of the lymphatic system to do its job and remove the injured and dead cells from the area.
Instead of using just ice, it promotes blood flow through the use of ice and heat and then uses massage and exercises to promote healing and removal of damaged cells by the lymphatic system.
Below is a video that can help explain the science behind the system and how it will be able to help with you or your gymnast’s injury.
I encourage you to check out the
for quickly healing a sprained ankle.