I Have an Ankle Sprain – Now What?
One of the most common ankle injuries is the lateral ankle sprain. Ankle sprain injuries occur most often in basketball, volleyball or other sports where athletes land on another players foot and the ankle rolls giving way under the weight of the athlete. Outside of athletics and ankle sprain can also happen when stepping off a curb wrong, or when a woman’s heel gets stuck when walking and the ankle twists awkwardly. Whatever the case may be there are certain things you can do to help speed your recovery following an ankle sprain.
Here are 6 things can do to help you recover from an ankle sprain:
- R.I.C.E.R. – most people have heard this acronym but it stands for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, ELEVATION, and REFERRAL. Controlling the swelling initially after an ankle sprain will help shorten your recovery time. However, if your pain isn’t subsiding you should seek medical attention and a referral to physical therapy.
- Mobility – if it isn’t broken, then you want to keep it moving. Pump your foot up and down and move it in circles. This will probably be tender, so just do what you can – bump into the pain don’t plow through it.
- Flexibility – different than general mobility, this is when you actually start stretching the area and trying to regain movement that your swelling took away. This can typically be started a few days following your injury. Start slowly and progress based on your symptoms.
- Strength – you will never build strength in movement you don’t have so make sure that you continue to work on flexibility. But as your ankle sprain symptoms calm down you will want to regain your strength so you can return to activity. Work from general to specific (ie: recumbent bike to toe raises)
- Sport Specific Activities – once your ROM and strength improve, you want to gradually work yourself back into the game. Break your sport into components and work on the components before combining them all when you actually play. (ie: Basketball – practice running up and down the court, practice sliding playing defense, practice your jump shot, practice cutting around a screen). Once you are comfortable with the components of the game it is time to get back to the game!
- Balance – this is the final peice to the puzzle and one that is often neglected leading to recurring/chronic ankle sprains. Practice standing on your injured foot/ankle. You should be able to stand for at least 30 seconds without losing your balance. Once you have mastered that try it with your eyes closed or while standing on a pillow.
Truly your best option for a speedy recovery from an ankle sprain is to visit a physical therapist that can help walk you through the steps or recovery and progress you as fast as possible. Don’t let an ankle sprain keep you out of the game any longer than it needs to. Good luck!
P.S. If you enjoyed this post about recovering from an Ankle Sprain please share it with your teammates and others that might benefit from the information, and thanks for sharing!
Medical Advice Disclaimer
The information included in this blog post and on this site are for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physical therapist-patient relationship.