Stop treating your ankle sprain by saying, ‘it’s just an ankle sprain.” We can do so much better. I know that feeling. You go over on the gutter or edge of pavement. Sharp pain, then you walk it off. A bit of swelling for the next few days, then your walking OK, then you’re running. 2-3 weeks passes and your back to everything you were doing before.
This is not OK. You will roll your ankle again. Some minor, some major. The problem is every time you roll your ankle you are making it looser and more susceptible to re-rolling and further trauma to the bony structures of your ankle. Also, who wants to have 2-3 weeks off every couple months.
What should you do?
I know it’s boring. Those single leg raises the physio gave you, those band and hopping drills. Yep, it’s not hard, it’s not rocket science BUT the science shows if you do them for 6-9 months you will be 50-70% less chance of rolling your ankle.
That is huge. You only need 2-3 key drills that take a couple of minutes before each run or workout and you reduce your chance of rolling by half or more. I say to people that 2-3 minutes 2-3 times a week can save you potentially 9 weeks sitting on the sidelines in a year.
I used to roll my ankle 3-4 times every year. I used to wear a brace. This big old leather, plastic and lace thing inside my soccer boot. I was safe in that. Guaranteed though every year I still rolled my ankle 3-4 times a year.
Since incorporating the drill below and a couple of hopping drills I have only rolled my ankle once in the last 18 months. This was stepping off, a still cyclone ravaged, gutter in New Orleans.
The exercises work.
Another positive was that it not only reduced the incidence of ankle sprains but it also reduced the severity of the ankle sprain. I was back to straight line running in 10 days and cutting in 3 weeks. This is the hidden value in appropriate drills.
1. Double leg calf raise.
2. Progress to single leg calf raise.
3. Progress to single leg calf raise with 10% body weight in your hand or on your back.
4. Single leg raise with band resistance (video below) and 10% body weight.
1. Hopping on the spot.
2. Short range hop side to side.
3. Large range hop side to side.
4. Hopping in a box pattern.
5. Hopping clockwise in a box pattern and then anti-clockwise without stopping.
I progressed myself through these drills over 2-3 weeks (you will need personal guidance on that) and now all I do is number 4 from the first list and number 5 from the second list. It literally takes me 2-3 minutes, 2-3 times a week and saves me 9-12 weeks of being stuck on the side lines.
Get cracking and stop those stubborn ankle sprains.