1. “She’ll be right.”
Don’t roll your ankle and say, she’ll be right. Yes, you will get better. Yes, the pain will ease. Yes, you will get back to sport. Will you be functioning well though? No. Will you roll your ankle again? most likely.
2. What’s going on?
When you roll your ankle, it swells. This is normal. This is protective. This is GOOOD. However, too many people rest in that first week. WRONG!. You need a very active recovery from day 1. Without this your swelling will pool around your ankle and foot. This restricts mobility and then will slow recovery.
With all that extra fluid around you are going to struggle to know where your ankle is in space (proprioception) and be a higher chance of rolling your ankle again.
3. Anti-Inflamms and Rest?
No, no, no. Anti-Inflams have the ability to reduce swelling, get you back quicker however some studies have shown that they can reduce the integrity of the ligament at around 4-6 weeks. Right when you’re returning to sport. So they might make you feel better, quicker however going back to soon with poor ligament integrity and no strength training is a recipe for disaster.
4. So what should I do?
a) Active recovery means pumping your ankle literally 100’s of times a day in the first 72 hours. This promotes swelling movement. Think, pumping good stuff in and pumping bad stuff out. This will reduce inflammation and maximise the healing response rather than just stopping the healing response all together like anti-inflamms will do.
b) Graded strengthening, balance and proprioceptive drills. Doing early drills gets you back to sport quicker and decreases the chance you will roll your ankle again. This is great news as to often people get into a pattern of rolling, rolling, rolling and just cop having a ‘dodgy ankle’.
c) See a physio to rule out anything nasty (fracture, bone bruising etc). Then get cracking on early, active recovery. Find your entry point to loading and start working it. This will have you back to sport quicker with less chance of re rolling your ankle and maximum ligament integrity.
5. Now what?
After you’ve been through the acute phase you only need to do maintenance drills 1-2 times per week to get the continued effects of preventing a re roll. This is huge as often a couple of simple drills done at training twice a week is more than enough to stop re injury.