Recovering from minor injuries – sprains and strains.

I will start this post by clarifying that I have no medical training whatsoever.  I’ve learned anything I say here by the DIY School – I have bad ankles.  I will also tell you that if you have injured yourself, go see your doctor.  We all research everything on the Internet, sure, but it would be wise to go see someone who has actual medical training.  Which, once again, I don’t.

I was playing badminton a few months ago when I had a fairly minor collision with my doubles partner – except that he was diving, and pushed me sideways.  I normally wear a brace on my right ankle having ripped the ligaments many years ago, but the left one, my “good one” was planted, and I was forced over on the outside of it.  It was painful, it hurt to walk immediately, and it wasn’t one that I could walk off.  I was going to be out of commission for a while, for sure.

Minor injuries are going to happen.  How I managed to go for 10 months without an injury caused by my own stupidity, I’m not sure – the closest thing to injury I had was a weird bout of vertigo in March.  This injury, caused by a friend that collided with me, was all the more heartbreaking because of the fact that it was an accident.  My doubles partner felt awful – still does – but it isn’t really his fault.  Stuff like that will happen, and the recovery will take work.

I followed the standard advice – I iced it, I wrapped it, I elevated it, and I did rest it.  I started to go mental.  After a week or so it was fine to walk, and soon I was ok to run again.  Gingerly, I went out, not wanting to ruin my ankle – and it was fine.  It was a lateral sprain, and the forward movement posed no problem at all.  After running, I completed my normal routine, which was to stretch by doing some ankle strengthening exercises.  I had done these for 10 months, and I credited them for the renewed strength of my ankle.  They hurt far more than the run had, but in the way that felt like good therapy.  I had already done my research on the Internet to determine that in fact these were reasonable exercises to do to heal and strengthen the joint.

After 2 weeks, I was able to return to badminton – wearing a brace that was available at the local large drug store for about $20.  My other brace runs in the $90 range, and I was glad that I didn’t have to buy a second.  Wearing that brace for another few weeks, I was back to normal.

So, what advice can I give to recover?  For minor  sprains and strains, I can say this:

  1. RICE.  Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  It takes time, but it works.
  2. Consult your doctor.
  3. Research your injury, and information about the joint you’ve injured, on the Internet.
  4. While you are resting, develop a strengthening and exercise program.
  5. Implement it as soon as you can.  Work the injury to strengthen it.
  6. Slowly get back to doing what you were doing before.
  7. Use special equipment if you need it.  Look into braces and supports – they are well worth the small investment.

I can’t stress enough that you should talk to your doctor.  By following the points above I’ve recovered from many minor injuries.  As will all things, your mileage may vary, but hopefully this and your doctor’s advice will give you some help. 

To give you a start, here are some helpful resources:

Good luck on your road to recovery – and take it easy!


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