ankle swelling

So, you have a chronic ankle sprain, and you have no idea how to bring the swelling down. If you’re undergoing physical therapy and are not seeing major changes, you may want to look into acupuncture.

Many athletes rely on acupuncture as part of their recovery from ankle sprains. Its anti-inflammatory effects provide immediate pain relief, and the improved blood circulation helps accelerate muscle tissue healing.

Let’s discuss how acupuncture is a natural solution to ankle swelling and how it can reduce pain.

What Are the Main Causes of Ankle Swelling?

Ankle swelling can be caused by numerous factors ranging from mild conditions to serious issues. The main causes of ankle swelling are:

  • Injury: Sprains, strains, or fractures can cause ankle pain and swelling due to inflammation and fluid accumulation. Ankle injuries can also lead to posttraumatic ankle joint osteoarthritis.
  • Infection: Infections in the skin, joints, or bones around the ankle can lead to swelling.
  • Inflammatory conditions: Conditions such as arthritis or gout can cause swelling in the ankles due to inflammation.
  • Venous insufficiency: When veins in the legs cannot properly send blood back to the heart, it can lead to blood pooling and swelling in the ankles.
  • Lymphedema: Blockage in the lymphatic system can lead to fluid retention and swelling.

A healthcare professional should immediately address persistent ankle swelling accompanied by additional symptoms like pain, redness, or warmth to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

What Are the Signs You Should Treat Ankle Swelling With Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can effectively treat ankle swelling, particularly when traditional methods have not provided sufficient relief. Here are some signs that you might consider treating ankle swelling with acupuncture:

  • Chronic swelling: If the ankle swelling has been persistent for a long time and other treatments (rest, ice, compression, elevation, and medication) have not provided significant relief.
  • Mobility issues: When the swelling significantly limits your mobility and affects your daily activities.
  • Persistent inflammation: If the inflammation does not decrease despite other treatments and lifestyle changes.
  • Underlying conditions: When swelling is related to underlying conditions that acupuncture can help with, such as arthritis, poor circulation, or lymphatic issues.
  • Side effects from medications: If you experience undesirable side effects from medications used to treat ankle swelling and are looking for a more natural alternative.
  • Stress and tension: If stress and tension are contributing to your condition, acupuncture can help to relax muscles and improve overall well-being.

5 Ways Acupuncture Treats Acute Lateral Ankle Sprain

While acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine, many physical therapists incorporate it into their recovery programs to treat lateral ankle sprains in athletes. Here’s how this alternative treatment method addresses an acute ankle sprain:

1. Provide Instant Pain Relief

Acupuncture is widely known for alleviating pain in multiple areas of the body, including that from acute lateral ankle sprains.

Patients can feel an immediate difference after a couple of acupuncture sessions as they recover from ankle sprain pain.

2. Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to acute injuries like lateral ankle sprains.

To lower inflammation, acupuncture promotes blood circulation. This triggers the release of anti-inflammatory substances.

This process clears out inflammatory mediators from the injured area. As a result, the swelling subsides, and the pain also starts to go away.

3. Facilitate Healing

Acupuncture not only addresses pain and inflammation but also facilitates the body’s healing process.

This supports tissue repair and regeneration, helping the ankle heal faster than physical therapy and medication alone.

4. Restore Ankle Function

Treating ankle sprains with acupuncture improves joint mobility and flexibility by relaxing tight muscles and tendons around the ankle.

This relaxation aids in reducing stiffness and promoting a greater range of motion, allowing the individual to regain normal use of their ankle more quickly.

5. Prevent Ankle Sprain Recurrence

Regular acupuncture sessions can also play a role in preventing future sprains by strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the ankle.

Enhanced proprioception, the body’s ability to sense its position in space, is another benefit of acupuncture.

Improved proprioception helps maintain balance and stability, reducing the risk of future ankle injuries.

How Does Acupuncture For Ankle Swelling Work?

Acupuncture triggers certain mechanisms in the body to facilitate healing and reduce ankle swelling. Here’s what happens when you undergo acupuncture treatment:

Stimulate the Nervous System

When the needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points, they stimulate the nervous system, releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins.

These natural chemicals have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, similar to those of over-the-counter pain relievers, which reduce pain and keep ankle swelling at bay.

By triggering a neurochemical response inside the body, acupuncture accelerates the healing process and restores ankle functionality among athletes.

Influence Immune Response

Acupuncture can influence the immune system’s response to inflammation and swelling in certain areas of the body.

Pricking the skin influences the activity of immune cells and suppresses the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. At the same time, the production of anti-inflammatory substances is heightened as well.

This process limits inflammation and contributes to a decrease in ankle swelling.

Improve Lymphatic Drainage

Inserting acupuncture needles can also stimulate the lymphatic system and facilitate the drainage of excess fluids from the tissues.

This process helps reduce edema (swelling caused by fluid accumulation) in the ankle.

Improved lymphatic drainage reduces swelling and prevents the recurrence of fluid buildup, promoting faster recovery.

Improve Microcirculation

Acupuncture improves microcirculation, which refers to the circulation of blood in the smallest blood vessels.

Increased microcirculation means the injured tissues receive the necessary oxygen and nutrients they need to repair themselves.

This process also removes metabolic waste products to facilitate muscle recovery further.

Combining Acupuncture With Medical Massage

Medical massage is one of the most effective ways to treat ankle sprains and swelling. Combining it with alternative treatment methods like acupuncture increases recovery times and allows patients to return to normal activities much faster.

Here’s how medical massage works to address an acute ankle injury:

Improve Tissue Healing

Medical massage aids in tissue healing by breaking down scars and adhesions that form during an ankle injury.

The targeted manipulation of soft tissues helps to break down scar tissue and adhesions that can form after an injury.

Gentle massage strokes re-align the ankle’s muscle fibers and increase their pliability, which helps in facilitating deep tissue repair.

This process speeds up recovery and helps the ankles regain their normal function and strength faster.

Increase Blood Flow

One of the benefits of medical massage is the improved blood circulation in the affected area. If you’re experiencing a Grade I ankle sprain, a medical massage can help with your recovery.

By applying specific techniques, therapists can stimulate blood flow to the ankle area, crucial for delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to the tissues.

Improved circulation also helps to remove metabolic waste products and excess fluid that contribute to swelling.

Relax Aching Muscles

Ankle injuries often lead to muscle tension and pain, not just in the ankle itself but also in surrounding areas like the calf and foot.

Medical massage relaxes these aching muscles by relieving tension and reducing muscle spasms. Techniques like deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release are great for ankle pain and swelling.

Boost Athletic Performance

Athletes need to maintain peak physical condition to stay competitive in sports. They regularly undergo medical massages to ensure their athletic performance is in good shape.

Deep tissue massage corrects muscle imbalances, improves overall muscle function, and promotes joint flexibility.

Regular massages ensure the ankle and surrounding muscles are in peak condition so that athletes can boost their athletic performance while recovering.

Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion

Increased flexibility and range of motion are critical components of ankle health, particularly after an injury. Medical massage works to stretch and lengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the ankle.

Massage techniques such as passive stretching and joint mobilization ensure that the ankle joint can move freely and effectively without restriction.

These techniques not only boost recovery but also prevent similar injuries from recurring in the future.

What to Look For When Searching for an Acupuncturist

When searching for an acupuncturist, consider the following factors to ensure you find a qualified and suitable practitioner:

  • Qualifications and certification: Look for acupuncturists with the appropriate credentials to provide acupuncture services. Ensure they have a valid license to practice in your state, as licensing requirements can vary.
  • Experience and specialization: Find out how long they have been practicing and if they have experience treating your specific condition. Some acupuncturists specialize in areas like pain management or stress relief, so make sure to review their expertise.
  • Referrals and reviews: Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or your healthcare provider about the acupuncturist. Make sure to read online reviews as well to get an idea of the quality of their services.
  • Consultation: Schedule an initial consultation to discuss your condition and treatment goals. Use this opportunity to assess their communication style, professionalism, and whether you feel comfortable with them.
  • Treatment approach: Inquire about their treatment philosophy and techniques. Some may use additional modalities like herbal medicine, cupping, or moxibustion. Make sure their approach aligns with your preferences and comfort level.

Ready to Treat Your Ankle Swelling With Acupuncture? Wellness and Pain is Here to Help

Wellness and Pain specializes in holistic ankle injury treatment and other conditions where joint pain is involved.

If you’re looking for licensed acupuncturists to help manage ankle swelling, then Wellness and Pain is ready to accommodate you.

Request an appointment now through this form or contact them at (844)-504-0637 for more information.

FAQ About Acupuncture for Ankle Swelling

Can acupuncture be combined with other treatments for ankle swelling?

Yes. Acupuncture can be safely integrated into any recovery program for ankle swelling without causing adverse effects.

Is treating ankle swelling with acupuncture painful?

No. Acupuncture is usually a pain-free experience. You might feel a slight sensation in your ankle, but it’s nothing too serious to worry about.

How many sessions does it take for ankle swelling to go away?

Depending on the severity, the ankle swelling takes anywhere from 5 to 10 acupuncture sessions to disappear.

Covered by Most Insurances and Most Unions

Wellness and Pain accepts most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the major insurance plans we accept. If you do not see your insurance plan listed, please call our office to confirm.

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