Ankle sprains happen when there is turning, twisting, or rolling movement of the foot that stretches the ligament surrounding the ankle beyond their normal range, tearing them in the process, and leading to severe swelling and pain.
This is a very common injury. In fact, roughly 25,000 people sprain their ankles on a daily basis, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. And runners are not an exception.
Ankle sprains manifest as tender pain in the ankles—especially when you walk or run on the injured foot. Other symptoms of ankle sprains include bruising, skin discoloration, swelling and restricted range of motion in the whole ankle area.
The standard RICE method works like a charm with this injury. If you are going an ankle sprain, then you need to R.I.C.E it for at least a couple of days before you do any weight-bearing activities like running. You can also wrap or compress the ankle with an Ace bandage to ease the inflammation and speed up recovery.
Of course, how long should you rest depends on the sprain’s severity, so if the injury lingers for more than two weeks, then you might need to a see a physician for a more thorough action plan. In most cases, your physician might recommend tapping the ankle, an air case or an ankle brace to speed up recovery and/or prevent re-injury as you slowly return back to your running routine.
Ankle sprains will usually heal in one to two weeks, but if you have a bad history of the condition (read: you sprain your ankles a lot), then there are a few things you need to do to prevent that from happening. To bullet-proof your body against ankle sprains, start doing balance exercises to strengthen the muscles around your ankles and build prioperception—the awareness of your own body in space.
Once the pain subsides and you can run pain-free, you might consider strengthening the muscles surrounding your ankle with balance training exercise such as xxx and yyy to improve ankle stability and prevent a flare-up—especially if you have a bad history of the condition.