East Bay Massage: Sprains

Massage plays an important role in recovery from a bad sprain. A sprain occurs when a ligament has been torn. Ligaments can be thought of as a sheathing that connects one bone to another bone and do not have to ability to stretch the way a muscle or tendon does. The severity of the sprain depends on how much of the ligament is damaged. Sprains can be a mild injury of just a few torn fibers to a complete severing of the ligament. If a ligament ruptures, it will be incapable of supporting the joint it surrounds, creating joint instability. In a case like this, surgery will be necessary to repair the damage are restore functionality. Post surgery, a massage therapist can make a world of difference in the functioning of a sprained ankle or knee.

Massage will reduce adhesions and assist the healing process by helping collagen fibers line up in the right direction (scarring results in a patchwork of fiber directions). Massage will also reduce edema (swelling) and help to express toxic byproducts of the injury from the surrounding tissues. Increasing range of motion through movement and weight-bearing stress after the injury has had time to heal is the best way to promote functionality– this helps to orient healing in such a way that scar tissue becomes a functional part of the surrounding tissues.

It is generally safe to begin massage 24-48 hours after a sprain injury. This gives the body enough time to shift from the healing process of blood clotting on to clearing the area of cellular waste and to begin to repair fibers. If massage therapy is applied appropriately, the ligament will regain movement, the joint will have the support it needs to maintain its range of motion, and the client will be able to regain mobility.

Thank you for visiting East Bay Massage!

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