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How to Massage Ankle Pain

How to Massage Ankle Pain

To relieve ankle pain, use your fingertips to massage the area around the joint using small circular patterns. Ideally, you should do this with both hands. But if that’s too uncomfortable, just do the best you can with one hand and then move it to the other side of the ankle.

Recovering from an ankle injury can be a slow and painful process. Massage therapy is one of the best ways to reduce pain, speed up healing, and encourage mobility.

Massage can help relieve tightness in the muscles surrounding your ankle joint and alleviate any swelling or inflammation that may have occurred due to the injury. It also helps increase blood flow to the affected area, promoting healthy tissue regeneration and faster recovery.

Massaging a Sprained Ankle

You can use multiple techniques to help heal quicker from this kind of injury. Try one, or all of these strategies, to see what works best for you. Start with one to two minutes for each exercise and add more gradually over time.

Twists

Before you start massaging your sprained ankle, it’s essential to warm up the area. Blood flowing to the site will help loosen tight muscles and make the massage more comfortable. 

Stand on a flat surface and gently twist your ankle from side to side in slow, controlled motions.

Rub Your Arches

When you’re ready to begin massaging, start by rubbing the arch of your foot in small circles. This will help relax any tight muscles in this area and reduce inflammation caused by the sprain. Use your thumbs to massage the arch and slowly increase pressure as needed.

Try Pulling Your Toes

Gently pull each of your toes away from the foot, stretching them out as far as comfortably possible. This will help elongate any tight muscles in this area and help reduce inflammation. Hold each toe for a few seconds, then slowly release it back to its original position.

Spreading the Feet May Help

Place your hands on the sides of your foot and slowly spread it from side to side. This stretch will help stretch the muscles in this area, promoting increased flexibility and range of motion.

Consider Heel Squeezes

Place your hand beneath the heel of your foot and gently squeeze it. Heel squeezes can  reduce tension in this area and encourage greater blood flow to the affected area.

Knuckle Up

Use your knuckles or fists to firmly massage the area around the ankle joint. This will help reduce tightness in this area and encourage a higher range of motion

Put Your Thumbs to Work

Finish up your massage with some gentle thumb work. Use the pads of your thumbs to massage the area around the ankle joint in small circular motions. Cooling down using this method can reduce any tension and encourage increased mobility. 

Hit Those Pressure Points

For an added boost of pain relief, try massaging the pressure points around your ankle. These are located on either side of your ankle joint, just above the bone.

Massage the Tendons Too

Massage the Achilles tendon. It’s located at the back of your ankle and can become tight and inflamed due to an ankle injury. To help reduce this tension, use your fingers to firmly massage the area in small circular motions.

Mind the Toes

Gently squeeze and massage each toe with your fingers for 1-2 minutes or until you’ve achieved a comfortable amount of pressure.

The Perfect Cool Down

Finish up your massage with some gentle finishing strokes. Use the pads of your fingers to firmly stroke down from the ankle joint to the toes and then back again. This technique will help reduce any remaining tension in the area and promote greater mobility.

Factors that Affect Recovery

Although a massage can help reduce inflammation and promote mobility, the main factors affecting your recovery are rest, ice, compression, and elevation

Be sure to stay off your ankle for at least 24 hours after an injury, and use ice regularly to reduce swelling. Compression bandages or wraps may also be used to further reduce inflammation. Elevate your ankle whenever possible to help reduce any fluid accumulation.

Benefits of Massaging Therapy for Injuries

  • Ankle massages can provide a number of benefits, including:
  • Reduced inflammation and swelling
  • Increased range of motion
  • Decreased pain levels
  • Stimulated healing process
  • Improved flexibility and mobility

Popular Techniques

Like so many things in life, there is no one size fits all solution for massage therapy. Here are some of the most widely used styles that may help with your ankle injury.

Effleurage

Effleurage is a gentle massage technique that uses smooth, gliding strokes to increase circulation and reduce muscle tension. This type of massage helps to stimulate the lymphatic system and promote healing.

Cross-Friction

Cross-friction massage is a type of deep tissue massage that uses firm, circular strokes to help restore function and flexibility to injured muscles and ligaments. It helps reduce inflammation and pain associated with ankle injuries. 

Therapeutic Styles

Therapeutic massage combines the use of different massage techniques, such as kneading, pressure, and stretches, to reduce tension and improve joint mobility. It’s known to help improve circulation, reduce pain, and relax tight muscles.

Lymphatic Drainage Techniques

Lymphatic drainage massage helps to flush out toxins and excess fluid from the body. It may reduce swelling and inflammation associated with ankle injuries.

Get Right to the Problem With Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy targets specific points in the muscle where pain or tension can accumulate. It can provide some instant relief if you and your professional know exactly what’s wrong and how to deal with it.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage is a type of massage that incorporates pressure, kneading, and stretching techniques to stimulate the body’s energy flow. No oils are used in this kind of therapy, nor will you be undressed. Some professionals consider it to be a modified form of acupressure.

Try Reflexology

Reflexology is a type of massage that helps to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. This type of massage focuses on applying pressure to specific reflex points in the feet and hands, which are believed to be linked to different parts of the body. Practitioners believe their techniques can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with ankle injuries.

The Risks

Massage therapy can be a great way to reduce ankle pain and promote healing. However, it is important to remember that massage can aggravate existing injuries or cause further damage if not performed correctly. 

You should consult with your doctor before receiving any type of massage therapy and then research and build a list of qualified massage therapists. Let your therapist know about any medical conditions or allergies you may have before starting a session.

The benefits of massage therapy can vary from person to person, and some people may experience more discomfort than others during treatment. Communicate with your therapist throughout the entire process to ensure that your needs are met.

Massage therapy should never be used as a replacement for proper medical care and attention. If your ankle pain does not subside after several massage sessions, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a doctor or other healthcare professional.

Do You Need Medical Attention

If your ankle pain does not subside after self-care measures such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation have been applied, or if the pain worsens with time, it is vital to seek medical help. 

Your doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of your pain and recommend further treatment options such as physical therapy or medications.

FAQ

Should you massage a sprained ankle?

Massage therapy may be beneficial in some cases but can cause further injury if not performed correctly. Your doctor will be able to assess your condition and advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation.

Difference between a broken and sprained ankle

A sprained ankle is caused by a ligament being stretched or torn, while a broken ankle is caused by fracturing one or more of the bones in the ankle. 

The symptoms of a sprained ankle include swelling, pain, and tenderness around the affected area. A broken ankle typically causes severe pain and difficulty moving the joint. 

When can you start massaging a sprained ankle?

Wait until the inflammation has subsided before attempting to massage a sprained ankle. Generally, this means waiting for several days after your initial injury.

Can you use a massage gun on a sprained ankle?

Massage guns can be used to provide relief from ankle pain, but use caution, read the directions, and be gentle with your injury.

Will Ankle & Foot Pain get better on its own?

In some cases, ankle and foot pain can improve on its own with rest, icing the area, compression, and elevation. However, if your pain persists or worsens over time, seek medical attention to diagnose and treat the underlying cause.

How soon can I get massage for an ankle injury?

Wait until the inflammation has subsided before attempting to massage a sprained ankle, which can take several days.

A qualified massage therapist can provide personalized treatment and recommendations for your individual needs. 

How massage therapy can help ankle pain

Massage therapy can be beneficial in providing relief from ankle pain. Massage can help increase circulation and flexibility while reducing inflammation in the affected area. Additionally, massage therapy can help improve the range of motion and reduce muscle tension related to ankle discomfort.

Is massage good for ankle pain?

Yes, massage can be beneficial in relieving ankle pain. Massage therapy helps increase circulation and flexibility while reducing inflammation in the affected area.

What is the fastest way to relieve ankle pain?

The fastest way to relieve ankle pain depends on the underlying cause. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help reduce inflammation and relieve acute pain. 

The earlier you start treatment, the easier it will be to manage your ankle pain.  With early intervention, you may be able to prevent more severe damage from occurring and reduce your risk for long-term complications.

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