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Best of Amtgard Combat:
I Will Not Be Bested By My Ankles

[12/10/2004] [amtgardcombat.com]

This article originally appeared in AmtgardCombat.com and was written by Sir Corbin of the Emerald Hills.

Ah, the twisted ankle. Twisted, the word is too succinct. An ankle does not just "twist." It bends, it rolls, it pops, it locks, it snaps, it folds, and on and on. I have played soccer since I was four, from under-fives to city-wide club tournaments and have done every thing injurous to my ankles except compound fractures.

It hurt everytime I did it, but I was more angry than in pain. Who wants to stop playing on account of your dumb ankle? Lucky for me, the coaches knew what to do.

It's Saturday. The poor gophers are long gone. Their home, once an idealic glade, is by now a scale replica of northern France in 1917 centered around a narrow gap in the green mountains of New Mexico. Packed mud, miniature burms, fragments of Amtgard. This is the field that breeds ankle injuries. And to hell with sitting off on the sidelines, 10 hours from home, watching the flerbs who just backstabbed your entire flank laugh about their cowardly deeds...

I will not be bested by my ankles.

Sprains hurt, but you will know if you fuck up your ankle enough to go to the hospital. So, what follows is not a treatment for a serious injury. Remember. I am not a doctor. I offer no alternative to medical treatment. Here is some stuff to note when spraining your ankle; it might help you get back into the game quicker.

Leave Your Boot On.

Leaving your boot on keeps the swelling down and helps to immobilize your foot. If your ankle is broken, they'll just cut your shoe off any way so you might as well leave it on. First of all, how can you walk it off with only one shoe on? Secondly, if you take your boot off and your ankle swells, you might not be able to get your boot back on to continue trenching. You lose.

Walk it Off

This is not some ego-driven show of manliness. Walking off a sprained ankle makes it better. It keeps your joint limber, pumps blood through the region to keep swelling down, and keeps you aware of your pain level so you can get right back to trenching. Particularly, in cold weather, like at Clan or Spring War, walking keeps you warm. Nothing sucks more than a sprained ankle and a leg cramp.

When the Pain is Not Going Away

When you've taken a few steps and have nearly fallen from pain each time, you probably should give it a little more time. Find a blanket to fall onto and a cloak to wrap yourself in (cold=bad). Relax. If you are wearing a boot, leave it on to keep the swelling down. If you are wearing low-top footwear, you may experience some swelling. Inconvenient. You can keep the swelling down by applying ice for twenty minutes. Eventually the pain will subside and you can get up and go again.

When Should I Wrap the Ankle?

That's your call. If you get up after the pain won't go away and it still hurts enough for you to not want to walk on it, try a wrap. A nice wrap could lend some support to a sore ankle by keeping it in place. Personally, I think that rehabilitation comes quicker to the ankle that must rely on its own strength, but I am not you.

When Should I Go to the Hospital?

You will hear things snap or crack. Even then, you probably don't need to go to the hospital. You may need to sit out for a bit and wrap it with ice. But if you are curled on the ground in severe pain with no thought of ever putting any kind of weight on your quickly swelling ankle, you might need to go to a hospital. You will know.

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