It was Thanksgiving Day and I had rushed to the gym to try and fit in a workout before spending time with the fam. I was on my first set of hurried step-ups when I lost my balance and stepped down hard on the support for the bench, rolling my ankle. I watched in the mirror as my foot bent inwards at a 90 degree angle, making a sickening pop. Then I totally fell on my ass.
It’s a good thing there was only one other person in the gym, because it was just as embarrassing as it was painful.
A simple ankle sprain is officially the world’s stupidest sports injury. The pain is minor, but my left ankle is the color of a blueberry and the size of a grapefruit. I can walk without too much discomfort, but I’m wobbly. If I step wrong, I lose my balance or start to roll my ankle again. According to Dr. Google, this can go on for weeks – or even months if I’m particularly unlucky. So I’m pulling out all the stops in my wellness arsenal to help this thing heal up fast. (And yes, I’m totally doing RICE as well.) Here are 5 safe, effective, and natural ways to treat sports injuries and slash recovery time.
Swap NSAIDS For CBD My achey ankle can disrupt my sleep if I’ve worked out or been on my feet a lot. And as tempting as it may be to reach for the Advil, I’m concerned that long-term use of NSAIDS could interfere with my body’s healing process. Instead, I’ve swapped the OTC painkillers for anti-inflammatory, pain-killing, sleep-inducing CBD. In case you’ve missed all the hype, here’s what it is: CBD is a chemical produced by the marijuana plant that promotes sleep, squashes anxiety, and reportedly has a myriad of healing health benefits. But while it does make you drowsy, it doesn’t get you high. I like to treat sports injuries with CBD as a sublingual tincture, or in a dose pen so I know exactly how much I’m injesting. And, yes, I go to the dispensary to make sure I’m getting the real thing.
Try Topical Arnica My dermatologist swears by arnica tablets before and after surgical treatment to reduce inflammation and bruising. I’ve also had great success with it as a topical treatment to treat sports injuries. It’s great for relieving pain, inflammation, and bruising – exactly what I’m dealing with here. After 24 hours of twice-daily application, I noticed I was able to walk without limping and had better range of motion in my ankle.
Take An Epsom Salt BathEpsom salts are awesome for promoting better sleep, but they’re also great for helping suck the swelling and stiffness out of a sports injury. One thing to be careful of: make sure your bath isn’t too hot. Heat is still controversial when it comes to healing, so try to keep the water temp lukewarm if you can tolerate it. If that leaves you shivering, warm it up and ice the injury immediately after.
Get A Massage As long as you have your doctor’s permission to do so, massaging swollen tissue helps increase circulation and drain excess fluid and stretch stiff tendons and ligmaents without stressing them. I got in with a certified massage therapist about five days after my injury and – while the treatment was definitely uncomfortable – the results were worth the pain. I woke up the next morning to a foot that more or less looked normal for the first time since the injury. If you can’t get in for a full treatment, you can use massage to treat sports injuries by lightly rubbing the area in circular motions for a few minutes. I like to do this when applying my arnica cream.
Incorporate Collagen Into Your Diet I’m a big fan of collagen. Not only does it improve my hair, nails and skin, but it’s also a natural way to reduce inflammation in the body and is thought to help strengthen connective tissue. Scoop it into a smoothie, stir it into coffee or cocoa, or sip a cup of collagen-rich bone broth. I can’t think of a more delicious way to heal! Do you have a natural remedy you swear by? Tell me about it! I hate limiting my activity for something so minor, so I’ll try anything to help my body heal!