Essential Oils for a Sprained Ankle to Get You Back on Your Feet Sooner
A sprained ankle is a bummer, no matter your age or activity level. Essential oils for a sprained ankle can help to reduce the pain and swelling, help you to recuperate faster, and even be back up on 2 legs as soon as possible.
Usually, these types of issues are considered acute injuries. An acute injury means it happens and then heals rather quickly, and usually without too many side effects.
Despite their acuity, sprained ankles can cause plenty of disruption in life with their pain and swelling. Often times you can’t put weight on them, get a proper shoe or sock on or even move the ankle.
This type of pain can even disrupt sleep. Essential oils for a sprained ankle can help reduce the pain and swelling, but will still need to be used in conjunction with good old fashioned R.I.C.E.
Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
Essential Oils for Sprained Ankle Injury
Essential oils are like plants’ liquid gold. They are unique and complex topical and aromatic triggers for the centers in our body that allow for emotional, mental, and physical healing in our bodies.
Typically the best essential oils are made by steaming or pressing various parts of the plant, such as the flowers, bark, leaves, or fruit to capture the healing essences of the plant.
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Remember, when you sprain your ankle, you stretch, strain, or even create tiny micro-tears in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles around the ankle.
To encourage healing and relieve pain and swelling, we want to soothe and cool the area. Here are some essential oils to help:
1. Wintergreen essential oil
This oil helps to reduce both the pain and inflammation of acute injuries. Did you know that common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds are actually a lab recreation of the active compound in wintergreen?
Mind-blowing right? When you use it straight from nature, you can do so without all of the nasty side effects too!
2. Eucalyptus essential oil
This oil might take you back to mom rubbing vapor rub on your chest when you have a cold, but it has a cooling effect that helps to relieve soreness in hurt ankles.
3. Lavender essential oil
This oil is very soothing, it really acts like a mild sedative, it helps to relieve the pain directly by calming the nerves. It can be particularly helpful when you are ready to sleep.
4. Peppermint essential oil
This oil might be similar to wintergreen but packs a bit of a different punch.
Mint helps to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with a sprained ankle injury.
It is an essential oil that is a little on the pricey side but worth the investment. It really works to increase blood flow and speed healing. I even recently used this essential oil for trigger finger pain on a patient; an ailment they’d been suffering with for years.
How to Use Essential Oils for a Sprained Ankle + Recipes
When working with these oils referenced above, it is important to know that they are very potent and can sometimes cause discomfort, especially when applied “neat.”
You always want to have a carrier oil on hand to use with essential oils, as this is an important method of diluting them to the appropriate strength, but also in case of topical skin discomfort.
While not an open wound like with a bleeding injury you’re trying to stop, it’s important to follow my advice on this here!
A carrier oil needs to be vegetable-based, such as coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, or just plain old vegetable oil.
If you’re thinking of just using water to help dilute an oil, know that essential oils don’t mix well with water, so if you get too much essential oil on an area or it gets on a sensitive spot on your body do not apply water. Keep that carrier oil handy in case you need it.
Along with the same idea, some resources will tell you that it’s okay to ingest essential oils. This is a big no-no. It should never be done without the supervision of a qualified clinical aromatherapist.
How to Best Use These Essential Oils
The most effective way to use essential oils for an ankle injury is to use the oils topically or aromatically. Topically means just to apply it to the skin.
Aromatically means you smell the aroma with your nose. A combination will provide the best results for this issue.
The first step is to select the oils you’re going to use, you can choose one oil or pair them up. Make your selection by checking with symptoms you need the most help with.
You will notice that Lavender is not included in any of these pairings, this is because it is a great supporting oil for almost every issue.
You could add it to any of these combinations below, or choose to use it aromatically while using these topically. Here are a few suggested pairings for maximum results:
This oil aromatically, particularly at bedtime to help take your mind off the pain and allow for rest.
Wintergreen and Peppermint
It will bring a cooling sensation and powerful anti-inflammation help.
Eucalyptus and Rosemary
They together will provide topical pain relief and cooling to the ankle. Especially helpful when adding back a range of motion and movement of the joint – just like when using essential oils with a tennis elbow injury.
It added to any of these blends will enhance the speed of healing.
Ever get chafed skin from shoes or socks after a long day or repetitive motions such as hiking? Essential oils for chafing skin work wonders – see more here.
Safety first! Make sure you dilute your essential oil and have a nice plant-based oil nearby in case your skin starts to get warm or irritated.
Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or plant-based oil of your choice) into a small glass bowl. Select your oil(s) from above and drop 2-4 drops of each oil or 4-6 drops total into the tablespoon of olive oil.
Swirl the bowl lightly so that the oils mix. Then dip a small gauze or the corner of a cotton rag into the oil. Gently apply the oil mixture anywhere you see swelling, bruising, or feel pain.
Using a circular, heart shape, or figure 8 motion brings an added layer of energetic healing and can help to activate the oils and quickly release the pain.
Cold or Warm Compress
The “C” in the R.I.C.E. method can easily be enhanced with essential oils. C is for Compression in this instance. Compresses can help relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling on their own.
By adding essential oils, you are supercharging these well-established effects. Remember, there is a water component to a compress, and water can increase the intensity of the essential oils.
Make sure you have a plant-based oil nearby in case of skin irritation.
1. Scoop a tablespoon of Epsom salt or Himalayan salt into a small glass bowl.
2. Add 2-4 drops of each oil you choose, for a total of 4-6 drops to the salt, and stir it around a bit.
3. Fill your sink or bowl with hot or cold water. Hot water for pain, cold water for inflammation. Generally, you want to work on the inflammation and the pain will take care of itself.
4. Pour your salt into the water and stir to dissolve.
5. Place an old towel in the bowl and submerge it.
6. Gently wring out the towel and apply it to the affected area.
7. Leave the towel on for about 15 min. You can store it in an airtight container and use the same towel multiple times.
You could also simply soak the affected ankle in the saltwater with essential oils.
The scent tent is a simple way to maximize your topical application by adding an aromatic component. This is great if you don’t have a diffuser or if you need a concentrated scent hit to help ease the pain.
For a sprained ankle, it is recommended to use Lavender for this. This technique works on the limbic system through your nasal passages and has a direct pathway to your brain to turn off pain and inflammation centers. You can do this by:
1. Placing one drop of Lavender oil in your hand.
2. Swirl it around to activate it and then carefully cup your nose to inhale through your nose, and slowly exhale through your mouth.
3. Repeat for 3-4 breaths.
Spraining your ankle can be tough, but know it is just a blip on the radar. You will be back on two feet before you know it.
Help your body heal as fast as possible and ease your discomfort by using essential oils to help.
Remember, essential oils are a powerful addition to your standard Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E.) protocol.