Simple sports massage techniques for treatment and rehabilitation of ankle sprains.
Sports massage can be effective in treating a sprained ankle in a number of ways. Initially, light massage around the ankle, calf and shin muscles can be used to help reduce swelling from around 3 days after injury. As pain subsides, deeper techniques can be incorporated to help loosen the calf and shin muscles and improve range of motion. See sports massage for calf muscles
After the acute phase, cross friction massage directly to the ligament can help in preventing scar tissue formation. This type of deep massage can be commenced from around 7 days after injury, or as pain allows.
Oil or any other lubricant should not be used as you need to get a good feel of the ligament. Oil reduces the control you have over your movements.
Cross friction massage should be applied with the ligament in the stretched position. Apply direct pressure with a single finger to the tendon and massage deeply (but within the limits of pain) backwards and forwards across the tendon - not along its length. The ligament should be felt under the skin. This is why it is important to have a knowledge of the anatomy involved and where the ligament attaches to.
Gradually massage deeper but within the limits of pain. This technique is likely to be a little painful but not so much that the athlete tightens up with pain. It might be easier to start treatment slightly away from the point of injury and gradually work in towards it.
The duration of treatment can be for around five to ten minutes. It is a good idea to use massage techniques every other day rather than every day. This gives you a chance to assess how the injury responds. If swelling increases of pain is worse the next day then refrain from massage until the acute stage has passed.