As an active participant in sports like basketball and other activities like yoga and martial arts, I’ve seen my fair share of injuries over the years.
I haven’t had anything too major that required surgery, but I have had at least three pretty bad ankle sprains in the past five-plus years, during which my ankle became swollen and discolored, and my ankle eventually felt structurally weak.
Recently after badly spraining it while jumping up and down on a wooden crate during one of my martial arts (muay thai kickboxing, which is great for relieving stress) classes, I met the same fate yet again.
The ankle was so badly swollen and so discolored that a massage therapist I visited a few days later looked at me in disbelief and said “I can’t believe you’re still walking around on this thing.”
Relieving Ankle Sprains with RICE
The acronym RICE is widely known as the best response to any ankle sprain: meaning Rest, Icing, Compression and Elevation, of course.
You should repeat these steps consistently throughout each day for best results in recovering from a sprained ankle. I iced my ankle throughout the day while also elevating it, and then I made sure to wrap it with an ankle sleeve while walking around, especially at work.
In a perfect world I would have stayed off of it almost entirely for at least 2-3 days, but I had to do some heavy walking down the hallways at work. Do your best to stay off of your ankle for as long as possible, especially until the swelling goes down.
You can also help to relieve swelling and other symptoms of ankle sprains with the right natural remedies, including my new favorite one, arnica.
Arnica: An Effective Herb for Ankle Sprains and Swelling
After spraining my ankle, the first thing I did was hobble into the health food store, naturally. I asked the clerk what the best choice for ankle sprains and swelling would be among natural remedies and she didn’t hesitate, immediately taking me to a homeopathic gel-like mixture with the main ingredient arnica.
She said that many people had been asking about it, and I would eventually find out why.
Arnica is a mountain flowering plant in the sunflower family that is often used herbally for various injuries, according to the website www.HerbWisdom.com. It grows in mountainous areas and pastures in the northern parts of America and Canada as well as Russia, various parts of mostly central Europe and other similar climates.
Arnica-based natural remedies and mixtures have been known to help alleviate:
- Muscle pains
- Bruises, and to prevent new ones from forming
- Damage done in the form of wounds
- Pain from various ailments including toothache
The hardy plant and medicines derived from it are also:
- Capable of expelling excess fluids from joints and muscles
- And much more
My Experience with Arnica Gel After the Ankle Sprain
The sprain I suffered recently was probably the worst I’ve ever dealt with, and in this case, the arnica gel was my best friend. I leaned on it so much it reminded me of the time I had a terribly painful toothache and kept a bottle of clove oil near my bed to numb the pain every hour or so.
This time around, I constantly reached for the soothing, bruise-reducing arnica gel for both mild pain relief and to help reduce the swelling as quickly as possible. Later on in the week, I received acupuncture treatments to help finish the job, another natural ankle sprain solution I’ll discuss in a future post.
For now, I’d like to simply state that arnica is perhaps the best remedy I’ve tried for recovering from a sprained ankle, and I’ve had plenty of experience in dealing with sprains in the past.
Where to Buy Arnica for Pain, Sprains and More
I found my arnica at the health food store, and while it worked well, the brand I used actually had some petroleum-like ingredients in it that I wouldn’t recommend. It’s important to be wary of the ingredients even when shopping at a health food store.
If you’re shopping online, I would personally recommend this Arnica Salve from MJ’s Herbals product.
It features organic arnica as well as clove oil which will help to further numb any pain you may have in the injured area, along with unrefined olive oil and beeswax. The latter two ingredients are far better than many “organic” products that have unsavory industrial ingredients added.
To view or purchase the Arnica Salve product, you can click here. It will definitely come in handy the next time you get bitten by the injury bug, as I have so many times before.