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3 Tips to Reduce Swelling and Soreness During Recovery
If you’re reading this, you’re probably recovering from a broken ankle.
But then again, maybe you aren’t. But that’s okay – in this article, I’d like to share some of the things I did that really helped with my recovery, and I hope that this information will serve as a guide for you for whatever injury you’re going through right now, for future reference or even so you can help someone you know who needs this info right now.
You may be curious as to how and why I know these things. Well, let me tell you, something happened in 2012 that completely changed my life and reinforced my beliefs towards achieving a healthier and fitter lifestyle. I broke my right talus bone in October that year, and my doctor and my physiotherapist told me that I would only be able to use 60-70% of my ankle at most, and that I would have a really hard time running or even walking on uneven surfaces. Basically, my ankle will never be the same again.
Well, yes, they were right. My ankle was never the same. In fact, I can say that my ankle is even stronger despite everything that happened – all thanks to these three tips.
Tip #1: Rest.
It can be so overwhelming in the beginning – you’re super determined to recover as fast as you can, so you start working out the instant you get out of the hospital. I see so many people on Instagram posting pictures of themselves working out while in a cast, all the while having this “Nothing can stop me!” attitude. Well, something should stop you, and that is your goal, which is to recover. And you can’t really recover if you work out and exercise so rigorously during the first few months of your recovery. You have to let your body rest. Give your body the time and the energy it needs to fuel your future workouts and routines. In my experience, I was in bed for about three months, and all the while my foot was lifted really high – higher than my heart, with about three to four pillows underneath my leg. Because if you have a fractured ankle and if your foot is always down (like it usually is when you’re exercising), you will feel more soreness and swelling.
Tip #2: Hydrate.
Drinking plenty of water never hurt anybody, right? Whether you have an injury or you don’t, water is always good for the body. It’s just that in the case of a fractured ankle or any other bodily injury, your body needs more water so that it can replenish its supply of energy, and for your body to also be able to flush out all the unwanted toxins that result to swelling. And with swelling comes soreness, so make sure to drink as much water as possible. Even if you’re just lying in bed and not moving much, get your 3-5 litres daily.
And, keep in mind that I’m talking about water, okay? Not coffee, alcohol, beer, or wine, because alcoholic beverages dehydrate the body. Hydration also gives us all the more reason to eat a high-raw, whole-food, plant-based diet since cooked foods also dehydrate our bodies. Moreover, the ever trustworthy fruits and vegetables in their raw state contain 80-90% water. So stock up on water and raw, plant-based food and you’re good to go!
Tip #3: Keep inflammation at a minimum.
You probably won’t be happy about this if you’re not vegan, but the truth is that meat, dairy, and eggs cause inflammation in your body. Of course, you don’t want to have that inflammation since it causes a lot of swelling and soreness. But let me tell you – your recovery is the best time to change your diet. Since you should be doing everything to work towards your goal (which, of course, should be a healed or recovered bone or muscle), it should be easy for you to grasp the concept of avoiding food that will worsen your condition. 
Did you know that a study showed that inflammation is most likely caused by endotoxins that come from animal-based foods? Saturated fat in meat, dairy, and eggs causes our gut lining to be really leaky, thus allowing our own bacteria to slip into our bloodstream, causing inflammation. Think about it: once you start eating right and eating plant-based foods, you won’t only help yourself become heal faster, you’ll also help the environment and the animals. [2, 3, 4]
These 3 tips really helped me a lot during my own recovery, especially the last tip, since I was vegan even before the accident happened. I remember my doctor and my physiotherapist telling me that during the first weeks and months, my ankle will be swollen and sore, but every time I went to my session, my physiotherapist was always surprised to see my ankle was neither. I attribute my successful and swelling-and-soreness-free recovery to these three tips and to the vegan diet and lifestyle in general. I know that incorporating a plant-based diet (and applying these three tips) will do the same for you, so keep on resting, hydrating, and eating the right food, and I’m sure that with visualization, hard work, persistence, and consistency, you’ll be able to achieve the recovery that you’ve been wanting.