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Home Performance Prevention Recovering From an Ankle Sprain

Recovering From an Ankle Sprain

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Immediate Action can reduce recover time
Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries for stop and start types of running sports. The proper treatment of a sprain can help you quickly recovery and prevent future problems.
After an ankle sprain it is important to act quickly. You should immediately stop the activity and apply a compression wrap and ice in order to keep swelling to a minimum. Ice should be used for no more than fifteen minutes at a time. Leaving ice on any long can risk frost burn and do tissue damage. Keep your leg elevated to decrease the blood flow (and swelling) to the foot. Research has shown that the sooner you apply compression, ice and elevation, the sooner you will recover from your sprain. Take a hint from the pros. By getting immediate attention, they are back out there in a matter of days. If you do nothing, keep playing and then put some ice on your ankle later that night, you will end up with a sprain that can take weeks or months to heal properly. Most of the damage from a sprain comes from the swelling. Your main goal is to reduce as much swelling as possible, and to do that, every second counts.

If you play sports where an ankle sprain is likely (soccer, track, football, basketball, etc...) you should always have a first aid kit nearby. Such a kit should include compression wraps, ice packs, splints, bandages, and ibuprofen.

For a severe sprain (one you can not put weight one) you may need a visit to a physician to make sure you don't have a fracture or serious ligament or tendon damage. In general, you should avoid weight bearing as long as your have swelling. When possible, you should keep your foot elevated. Within a couple of days, your pain should decrease enough to allow some weight bearing without pain. As you are able to tolerate more weight, you can begin a walking and gentle stretching program to increase your flexibility.

Proprioception exercises or balance exercise can help you recover more quickly and should actually be preformed as part of a prevention program. Jumpsoles Proprioceptors are great for this, as are wobble boards and other imbalance exercises. Poor balance is a good predictor of future ankle sprains. After an ankle injury balance training is essential to recovery. In addition to our eyes and inner ears, there are special receptors in our joints (proprioceptors) that provide information about our position in space. By balancing on one leg you can reinforce and strengthen those receptors in the ankle. Balance on the affected leg and hold steady for 15 seconds. Continue to challenge your ankle by balancing with your eyes closed, or with your head turning from side to side. If you play soccer, balance on your sprained ankle and kick a soccer ball against a wall. If you play basketball, balance and shoot or practice bounce passes. Get creative with your exercise to match your sport.

Ankle sprains can be prevented by using appropriate equipment for your sport. However, sport-specific shoes and protective gear are just the start. To avoid ankle sprains, you need to strengthen your ankle joints with various tools.  Resources are provided below.

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