It’s happened again. They say an active life comes with its own health risks, but even so, I prefer an active life to a sedentary one. I’m sure some people would think it would be impossible to injure yourself cross-country skiing, but I’m here to prove them wrong. I’ve been skiing quite a bit lately, and the terrain around my house varies from flat to quite hilly. Well, I was on a hilly trail by myself the other day, a trail I had never taken before I might add, when I panicked a bit going down a fairly steep trail and tried to gracefully fall over. I fell over all right, but not as gracefully as I would have liked. I could tell that I had twisted my ankle a bit, but it wasn’t hurting too much at first, so I continued for another kilometer or so, until it dawned on me that I was quite deep in the woods, alone, with a few big hills to go up and down. Now I can say with certainty just how important ankles are to cross-country skiing. Not just when you are on flat terrain and the foot is flexing from the ankle, no in fact that was quite comfortable for my poor little twisted ankle. One realizes just how much the ankle has to be inverted (the ankle turned towards the inside) to go up hills, as well as, how important the ankles are to your stability and power in going down hills. I made it home without too much pain, but I could tell that I had done some damage as it was already beginning to swell. Let me tell you, a swollen ankle is quite painful. I haven’t felt pain like that for some time, but every time I do, I always think of my patients and try to remember how it felt so that I can empathize with them. It is easy to empathize with someone in pain if we can see that something is visibly wrong, like a swollen ankle. However, too often the pain is hidden and people tend to forget quickly or not believe that the pain is there at all because there are no visible signs. A lot of my patients are like that, and that’s why I always take the time to listen to there problems and help them as best I can.

For a sprained ankle, it is best to ice the stretched ligaments (90% of the time on the outside of the foot) for the first 48 hours. After 48 hours, heat generally works best. Acupuncture can help reduce the swelling and pain so that the ligaments can heal properly and quickly. In case you’re wondering, I’ve been giving myself acupuncture treatments, icing my ankle, rubbing on kwan loong medicated oil, and using moxibustion (heat therapy) around my ankles. The only good thing about an ankle injury for me is that it’s not too hard to do acupuncture on myself. All in all, I know that I will get better and I’ve been able to learn more about how ankles work and how best to treat them.

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