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Will a Hot Tub Help a Sprained Ankle?

For hot tub owners who suffer an injury such as a sprained ankle, they may wonder whether they should use their hot tub to help heal the injury. Will a hot tub help a sprained ankle? The short answer is that yes, a hot tub can be used to help heal a sprained ankle, but the more nuanced answer is that the hot tub should be avoided immediately after the injury and only used several days later after the swelling has subsided. To give more detail on when and how a hot tub can be used to treat sprains, we’ve come up with an article that goes over the entire process.

See A Doctor

If you injure your ankle and feel that it might be a serious injury, you should see a doctor to make sure you haven’t broken a bone. Sprains, on the other hand, do not involve any broken bones but are characterized by stretched or torn ligaments. Ligaments are bands of fibrous connective tissues that hold together joints or links bones or cartilage. If you have suffered a sprained ankle, you’ll likely experience swelling, will find it hard to put weight on your foot and there may be bruising or other skin discolouration.

RICE Therapy

If the doctor has diagnosed that you have, in fact, sprained your ankle, there are treatments you can perform at home. As mentioned in the introduction, you shouldn’t use your hot tub right after being injured. Using RICE therapy should be your first action. This will help reduce swelling and allow the injured tissues to start repairing themselves. RICE is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. To employ this therapy, you should keep weight off the affected area for 24 to 48 hours. Over the next three or four days you should ice the injury in 10 to 20-minute intervals to reduce swelling and to slow the blood from rushing to the area. Use a tensor bandage, compression socks or simply apply pressure to the area to help suppress further swelling. If possible, elevate the injured area above your heart. This will prevent fluid from building up in the injured area. 

Pain Medication

If you’ve been prescribed pain medication by your doctor you should follow the instructions for how to use it. If you aren’t prescribed medication, you should ask your doctor if it’s okay to use an over-the-counter pain reliever. Once again, follow the instructions on the package. Continue to allow the injured area to rest as the pain medication may make it feel like the healing has already taken place.

Heat Therapy

After a couple of days, the swelling of your injury should start to go down. At this point, you can start applying heat therapy and enlist your hot tub into the recovery program! When you apply heat to your injury, circulation is increased which helps remove waste products and other debris from the area. The metabolism of the cells is boosted as more oxygen, blood and nutrients flood the area as the capillaries become more permeable. Heat can also relieve pain, reduce the chances of muscle spasms and increase the range of motion of the injured area. 

Hot Tub Therapy

Using your hot tub can also help by massaging the affected area and alleviating some of the load carried by the surrounding muscles and bones. The hot tub is a good place to stretch out your ankle and try and regain the range of motion you had before the injury. One type of exercise specifically for the ankle is the perform alphabet exercises. This entails “writing” the alphabet while imagining the toe as the tip of the writing instrument. Doing these stretches in the hot tub will improve the flexibility of the ankle while utilizing the buoyancy of the water and the massaging action of the jets.

To learn more about how a hot tub can be used to treat injuries, download a free hot tub buyer’s guide today.