Ankle sprain is the 3rd most common sports injury. Ankle sprains are very common, and almost inevitable in sports that involve jumping, running, and turning quickly, such as: soccer, hockey, basketball, gymnastics, and volleyball and track.
An ankle sprain occurs when there is a twisting force to the lower leg or foot, causing the ligaments that support the ankle to stretch beyond their limits and tear. Ligaments are strong, fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones.
Sprains can range from tiny tears in the fibers that make up the ligament to complete tears through the tissue. Sprains cause pain, purple bruising, swelling and loss of range of motion. If the tear of the ligament is severe, you might hear of feel a ‘pop’ when the sprain occurs. Sprains can range from being mild to severe; regardless of the level of severity, a sprain can weaken your ankle, making it more likely to injury it again. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to long-term problems, including chronic ankle pain, arthritis, and ongoing instability.
Lateral ankle sprains, sprains that occur in the lateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle, are the most common form of ankle sprains, and they account for 80% of this type of injury.
Chinese Medicine Healing Options
In Chinese medicine, sprains are considered damage to the sinews (an old-fashioned word for anything having to do with tendons, ligaments, cartilage, or joint capsules). This kind of injury is considered a blockage of energy and blood, where nothing is moving through the injured areas. This stagnation results in the swelling and purple bruising around the joint.
Restoring your Qi
An acupuncturists’ first order of business is to get the energy and blood flowing. This will help relieve the pain and sooth the injured tissues so they can heal. The “qi” (complex flow of energy) moves in precise patterns across and within the body and can have areas of excess and areas of deficiency. The use of needles and, occasionally, moxibustion (an application of heat to acupuncture points) will get the qi flowing again.
Needles will be inserted into an area called the A-shi points. Your body works like a hologram in that there is a map of your entire body in each individual part, like the DNA in your cells containing the building instructions for your entire body. If the injured area is too painful or inflamed to needle, the acupuncturist may choose to needle the same joint on the opposite side of the body, which can be just as effective. The acupuncturist may also perform ear acupuncture to help heal a sprain. Your ears also contain the map of your entire body.
Massage Therapy as a Complement
Once the initial trauma of a sprain has passed, massage can also be effective in decreasing swelling and improving the range of motion in the injured joint.
To avoid complications with a sprain, take the first step and visit an acupuncturist who is well-versed in sports medicine, such as Anjuna Medicine. As Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher and writer once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”