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Rapid Recovery for Ankle Sprains

(Episode Transcribed Directly from Video)

Hey guys, coach Mike here with MOB of the week. Our next three episodes are going to be all about footwork, that's right; your feet, okay. Now obviously, we want to have some strategies and techniques available to us when our feet start taking a pounding and they will if you're doing mud run an obstacle course training which is the thing that we're all training for, your feet are constantly coming in contact with the ground and you're out there on the trail or maybe out there in a stadium, race on the stairs, your feet are constantly coming into contact with uneven surfaces. So, today's episode specifically is going to talk about rapid recovery for those nasty rolled ankles, that's right, when you sprain an ankle, it starts to swell up, you get that pain in your foot, you got to race in a couple days or a couple weeks, whatever it is, you’re just right at the peak of training, how do you get back on the training floor or how do you show up on race day without that nagging in the back of your head?

So, technique number one is going to be voodoo floss, technique number two is going to be banded distractions and then, we're just going to free flow a little bit, talk about some home remedies, alright, let's get right to it. So, we've used a voodoo floss in the past, our rule 50% tension, 50% overlay with the ankle, we're going to start below the heart and work our way up. So, we're going to apply that 50% tension starting underneath the foot and right at the arch and then, start working our way 50% tension, 50% overlap and we're going to cover everything all the way round and if you have to exchange directions a little bit to make sure that you are going around that funky figure eight of the ankle, that's okay, just make sure everything is covered, shouldn't be too much skin showing through. We're going to wrap this all the way around 50% tension, 50% overlap and then, when you get near the end of the band, give yourself just enough slack that you can tuck it back where you got it. And it's okay to come up a little bit high on this because remember, we want to constantly work upstream and downstream so, you might be saying “oh, hey coach, why are you so high up on your calf when this is supposed to be ankle mobility?” well, a lot of times, tension ankle is directly stemmed from tight calves so, refer back to the roll flex and the barbell smash on how to loosen your calves up.

Now really, anything you do here is going to help because you're forcing compression into the joint but one thing we like to do is get yourself in a position where you can elevate the ankle and do very slow circles all the way round. I'm talking to the extent of like, taking 10 full seconds to complete one rotation and maybe do five or six rotations clockwise and five or six rotations counterclockwise and then, after you've completed all those circles then, same rules of the voodoo floss apply; you're going to pull it off and then, start doing some work but I like to start with voodoo floss because when you rip this thing off, all that fresh oxygenated blood is going to force into the joint and now, you can start manipulating and moving it a little bit better. So, let's take this off and move into bandit distractions.

Alright so, I've just spent a few minutes with the Voodoo floss wrapped around my foot and ankle and I'm immediately going to go and take a smaller thickness monster ban, wrap it round a post or a stall wall and hook it around the back of my ankle, pull tension back on to it and then, take my foot through full range of motion, so here, I'm here I'm doing some simple heel raises to flex the calf, I'm flossing the back of my Achilles tendon, the heel cords and I'll do this, you know, 10 to 20 reps and then I'll turn the other way and I'll roll my foot to the outside a few times trying to keep that band hooked underneath the ankle so it's flossing that joint and we're just going to roll it through a few times, then go to my third direction facing forward. Now, we're in the interior crease of the foot and ankle and now, we're again, going to those heel lifts and flexing up and then finally, show you the back side, we're going to roll to the inside of the ankle. Again, the band is wrapped and hooked around the underside of the ankle joint and I'm rolling through so that we can hit that 360 degrees around the joint. It's a simple bandit distraction, we've talked about bandage distractions in the past but I absolutely love it for helping with those nasty tight ankles. And not only when you sprain your ankle but if you're having restrictions in your squat and you can't get down where you need to be it might be because you have restricted dorsiflexion in the ankles so, not just for your runners maybe your squatters want to take use of this technique as well.

So, there you have it, there are two techniques that you can use for restoring range of motion in the ankles. Now, it doesn't stop there, there's a lot of proactive things that you can be doing, home remedies and some external devices that you can utilize to help rapidly recover those ankle sprains. Now, everybody's heard of the RICE method; Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and there's some conflicting data about how well that actually works. I can tell you from my own experience and what our athletes have experienced that you can't go wrong with rest, okay, proactive rest. So, actively be doing things but listen to your body, be receptive to the feedback that your body's giving you, if you're trying to do mobility work on anything and it hurts, if it's sketchy, “hey, what are those main rules in mobility work?” if it feels sketchy, it is sketchy. So, make sure you're avoiding pushing through the pain cave when it comes to mobility work, that's kind of, not the point.

However, rest is going to be good for you, you can't overdo rest. If you are going to ice, we want you to do heat therapy first, unless it's an immediate injury and there's visible inflammation and swelling at that point, you probably want to throw some ice on the injured site and knock down some of the immediate swelling but if it's just general aches pains and restrictions, ice is not going to help you, ice is going to restrict the capillaries and you're not going to get the blood flow to that problem area and that's exactly what you want to do with mobility is forcing blood. So, with the ankles, unless it's a big purple grapefruit, ice might be good for that. I would actually go heat, ice or cold therapy and then, back to heat again. A simple analogy would have two homo buckets, you know, the Home Depot buckets; one filled with hot Epson salt water and the other one filled with ice water. Soak your foot for 5 to 10 minutes to get it warm and flushed and then, dump it in the cold bucket for 5 to 10 minutes and then, go back to the heat.

You can do it, if that makes too much of a mess for you, if you have monster Quadzilla feet and they don't fit in the bucket maybe just boil some water and then, have a, you know, a tub of ice water and soak a rag or towel in the hot water and keep one rag or towel soaked in the other, wrap it with the warm stuff for 5 to 10 minutes, go to the cold and then, come back to the heat again. So, it's hot and cold immersion therapy to really flush some fresh blood into those joints and this stuff really works great for the ankle. Anytime you are doing mobility, we don't want to stack; “I'm going to do this technique and then that technique, then I'm going to ice it and then, I'm going to put my compacts or my mark Pro unit on it.” Slow it down a little bit, let's give your body rest after each mobility technique or in this case, recovery technique that you're applying.

Elevation would be a good one to fill in the gaps. So, if you are going to do hot, cold, hot therapy, then go ahead and elevate your foot for a couple of minutes and let that flush out and recover. And if your body's not sending you any pain signals, maybe it's then okay to do some voodoo floss and bandit distractions and then, go back to elevation and rest. Maybe later in the day, if you have access to some really cool tools; red light therapy machine which we talked about in one of our previous episodes, if you have access to an acupuncture specialist, that’s somebody that can put some needles in you, that could certainly help or if you do like, I mentioned, a compacts unit or a mark Pro, it’s a muscle stimulation device, think of them as beefy tense units on steroids, these work really great as well. I use all of these myself and I encourage our athletes to use all of them but don't go too gung-ho on the recovery and just stack everything back to back to back, listen to your body, when you need to take rest, take that rest.

I hope at least some of this has been helpful for you, we will return next week with another episode on foot care where we'll talk a little bit more about your heel cords in the achilles tendonitis and we'll introduce you to the mobility peanut. So, thanks so much for joining us today, we'll see you next week. Keep training hard so you can go get dirty.

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