Whether you're running on rocks, roots, scree, or perfectly smooth fire roads, ankle rolls are one of the most common hazards of trail running. We'd like to share some updated information we learned on how to treat ankle sprains from a recent Wilderness First Aid course.
RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is what First Aid practicioners and athletic trainers have been advising for decades as a way to treat ankle sprains, but new recommendations were recently established by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). NOLS updated the curriculum in 2017 with the following recommendations:
"Resting an injury makes sense in the short term evacuation context, but modern approaches to rehabilitation include early and judicious use of an injury. Ice is helpful as a short term OTC pain management tool, and we will continue to advise for its use in that context. We don’t advise long term use of ice to suppress swelling, as this likely interferes with healing. There is no evidence that compression aids in healing. Elevation has limited usefulness, mostly to prevent throbbing pain that will interfere with sleep. We are replacing RICE with the concept of managing the pain of a musculoskeletal injury with support through tape, braces or splints, short term ice as a non-pharmaceutical topical pain management tool, elevation to reduce throbbing and allow sleep and OTC pain management."
In other words, ice, elevation, and compression are only advised as a way to cope with pain management, but aren't ways to heal or rehab the injury. Instead, they recommend early and judicious use of the injury as well as supporting the injury through the use of tape and braces. For runners especially, rehabbing the ankle includes a combination of strengthening and mobility. Some runners report success in the rehabilitation process with adding in light movement, such as dorsiflexion and plantar flexion of the ankle joint, or writing the alphabet with your toes. Once you can do this, athletes have progressed to slowly incorporating a TheraBand to resist against these movements to work on ankle mobility and strengthening.
As always, consult with your doctor before incorporating any treatment protocols.
Recommended Travel Reading
As we countdown to our New Year's and March Patagonia Runcations we've included some recommended reading. Check it out and let us know what you think! You can also check out this list on Goodreads for more info and where to buy/ or rent.
Trekking in The Patagonian Andes - Lonely Planet - Clem Lindenmayer
In Patagonia - Bruce Chatwin
Voyage of the Beagle - Charles Darwin
The Tower: A Chronicle Of Climbing And Controversy On Cerro Torre - Kelly Cordes
Patagonia: A Cultural History - Chris Moss
The Uttermost parts of the Earth - Lucas Bridges
Birds of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego an Antarctica Peninsula - Enrique Couve and Claudio Vidal
What's the deal with these custom Runcations we keep talking about?!
We now offer custom Runcations to private groups and teams! Whether you're a brand looking to showcase your product on some awesome trails, a running club looking to get in some training and vacationing, a company looking for an awesome retreat, or just a group of friends interested in a specific week, we've got you covered!
You can request any of our existing Runcations in a custom week, or create your own dream trip. Choose the type of accommodations you'd like and add in some yoga, a pasta making class, a via ferrata, or anything else inspired by the location of your desire. We're also able to host Runcations across a broad range of locations in California and the United States, Patagonia, the Alps, the Dolomites, Italy, Spain, Peru, Norway, Slovenia, and more!
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