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Super Healing Powers
June 6, 2008 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Any tips for faster ways to recover from a twisted ankle/bruised foot?

Yesterday, while running in my office in flip flops (yes, I am a complete idiot), I fell in a spectacular (and I am told, hilarious) manner, and twisted my ankle. I have a moderate amount of bruising on the top of my foot, but there's no swelling all all. It hurts, but I can still walk okay.

In exactly 8 days, I am scheduled to direct a conference at which I am responsible for chasing after 60 college kids. I need to not be limping around. How can I maximize my healing so that I will be able to perform this task ably without further injuring myself?

I'm currently doing the ice and ibuprofen routine, staying off of it as much as I can (though I have to go to work and walk around a bit, as I'm preparing for the conference), elevating it when I'm sitting, and wearing an ace bandage whenever I'm out and about. Is there anything else I should be doing? Could a doctor do something else that I'm not doing, or would s/he just tell me to do what I'm already doing?

I'm pretty confident that it's just a twisted ankle or a bruised muscle, not a fracture. I broke my foot a few years ago, and I had massive swelling. This doesn't feel like that, and there has been no swelling at all. So I don't think it's broken. But if you all tell me that I need to see a doctor for an x-ray, I will.
posted by decathecting to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I sprained my ankle once, and the doctor had me do exactly the same thing - rest, ice, compression, elevation. Is ibprofen an NSAID? I was prescribed a double-dose of aleve every 12 hours or so.
posted by muddgirl at 9:59 AM on June 6, 2008


IANAD. Ibuprofen is indeed an NSAID, however, Naproxen sodium (Aleve) is slightly better at dealing with inflammation. Dont take both at the same time. And try not to drink while taking Naproxen sodium. So my Docs tell me.

Sounds like you're doing fine. If after a few days you are still in a lot of discomfort, then get thee to a physician.
posted by elendil71 at 10:06 AM on June 6, 2008


Since it was yesterday, ice it down as much as possible. Like every 2 hours. In the first few days athletes even wake up in the middle of the night to ice down new injuries. It sounds like you are doing everything else right.
posted by LoriFLA at 10:16 AM on June 6, 2008


there's no swelling all al

well then, you might want to ignore my advice! Oops. If there is a moderate bruising you should have it looked at by a doctor.
posted by LoriFLA at 10:18 AM on June 6, 2008


You can break your ankle without it being ridiculously swollen--I had a tiny bit of bone chip off of my ankle and it seemed exactly like sprains I'd had before, except for the long-term recurring pain.

Go to a doctor. Is there any reason why you're NOT going?
posted by sondrialiac at 10:19 AM on June 6, 2008


I haven't gone to a doctor because going to the doctor is a big hassle. It wastes at least half a day in waiting rooms (probably more if I need x-rays and other nonsense), and in the lead-up to this conference, I don't have much, or any spare time. I realize that erring on the side of caution is a good thing, but I also don't want to give up a day of work and then have to pull an all-nighter the day before the conference to assemble binders or some such nonsense.
posted by decathecting at 10:42 AM on June 6, 2008


When I've done this, in addition to a strict ice regimen, I started walking as soon as I could, with tightly-laced walking shoes. Worked for me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:02 AM on June 6, 2008


Usually in a city like DC there are urgent care clinics where you can go after hours--maybe that would help with the time crunch because it wouldn't be during office hours?
posted by sondrialiac at 11:15 AM on June 6, 2008


Oh, and dropping by your local drugstore and getting a cane would be a good way to keep more weight off of it without having to use crutches. They're affordable, adjustable, usually right by the pharmacist.

Good luck--limping sucks!
posted by sondrialiac at 11:17 AM on June 6, 2008


Whenever I injure myself like this, it takes about two weeks to go away completely. So you may not be utterly pain-free in a week, but you will probably be able to manage at least some running around okay.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:21 AM on June 6, 2008


If there is no swelling, after 3 or 4 days you may want to talk to an experienced massage therapist about it. You should not have the bruised areas massaged directly, however if you have stressed the tendons and ligaments (and probably muscles too) massage can often help a lot. Some people like to use arnica for bruises, you can get it at any health food store. I cannot personally attest to success with it.

I say an experienced massage therapist because you don't want to go to a student clinic or something like that for an injury. Seek out someone with at lease a little experience with sports massage or the like. Feel better!
posted by pinkbungalow at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2008


Ice for swelling, heat for healing. Warm soaks in salt baths.
posted by rokusan at 12:11 PM on June 6, 2008


If its just a twisted ankle then you should be good to walk around normally in a couple of days. If theres soft tissue damage it will probably feel tender/weak for a few weeks but there should be very little pain after a week.

When I did Judo, I had an instructor who was showing off to his new girlfriend and had been throwing me really hard and fast all night. At the end of the night he was demonstrating a new move for the entire group and he span me round so fast my top leg swung across too fast and I landed toe-first into the mat. It hurt like hell and swelled up massively, it went very purple quite quickly.
The next day I went to the hospital and got an x-ray, all was fine and the doctor gave me a tubigrip and told me to walk around the best I could. It was too painful to walk unaided for a couple of days but 8 days should be more than enough to get back on your feet (no pun intended), unless theres something more serious (do we really need to tell you to go to the hospital?). I wasn't allowed to do any sport for 6 weeks but regular walking was ok. (Of course I went back to PE too soon and wrecked my ankle again and had to have 6 weeks of physio but thats another story ;) )

If you want to speed the healing process you might consider some physiotherapy (if you can get a short-notice appointment). After my second accident, I had some electromagnetic thing and this really fascinating ultrasound treatment - you could tell that it was healing because the ultrasound was cold on normal tissue and warm when it passed over the damaged parts. The total healing process too about 6 weeks with 1 session a week. But 1 session might help jump start you before your conference.
posted by missmagenta at 12:54 PM on June 6, 2008


Sleep! If you're trying to get better, from any ailment, I am a big believer in rest.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 3:00 PM on June 6, 2008


You can get a cheap, slip-on ankle brace from the pharmacy as well as the cane. Might help prevent the swelling from coming back worse as you start to walk on it again.
posted by stevis23 at 5:32 PM on June 6, 2008


You've convinced me to go to a clinic tomorrow for an x-ray (which, of course, I should have just done in the first place). Oh boy am I going to be annoyed if it's broken. Will update to let you know the outcome. Thanks for all the great advice.
posted by decathecting at 8:27 PM on June 6, 2008


I have a lot of friends who are in the BDSM community (including renowned sexual educator Midori) who come across and/or deal with bruising much more often than your average folk. Many of them absolutely swear by the use of a time-tested remedy that dates back to medieval times (16th century) called "Arnica Montana" (also known as "Leopard's Bane). It reduces the appearance of bruises and swelling, as well as making them subside substancially quicker. It's use is also extremely popular with many athletes.

Arnica is made from the dried roots and flowers of the plant, and is most often found as a cream or gel; but you can occasionally find it in "pillule" form, which one dissolve in one's mouth. Arnica works by stimulating the activity of white blood cells which process congested blood, and by dispersing trapped fluids from joints and muscles and bumped and bruised tissue. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities and it is these that help to reduce pain and swelling as well as improving wound healing.

Although considered an ancient remedy, there are modern studies that have shown it to be extremely effective. You can find Arnica cream, gel or pillules in many health food stores, phamacies or places that offer alternative medicines or homeopathic remedies.

(Personal anecdote: Last year, I busted my second toe extremely hard on the corner of the vacuum cleaner and it turned a dark and painful purple blue from base to tip. I used Arnica gel on it several times a day, and in about a week, the bruising had *totally* disappeared -- and it faded from blue to normal skin colour, skipping that ugly green-yellow stage entirely! It also helped quite a bit with the pain and tenderness. With my usual healing rate for that kind of damage, it would normally have taken me 2-3 weeks if not more for it to heal to that degree -- I'm a true believer and always have Arnica gel in my medicine cabinet.)
posted by Jade Dragon at 1:13 AM on June 7, 2008


Good to hear you're going, even though it always sucks to go to the doctor. Good luck at your conference.
posted by sondrialiac at 8:56 AM on June 7, 2008


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