A sprained ankle is the most common sport’s related injury. They happen across all sports, all ages and all fitness levels. Most people do not think of a sprained ankle as a serious injury. After all, most people feel okay again after 4 – 8 weeks even if they don’t do anything to heal the ankle. Then, they get back to sports, but there’s a few problems.
First, people tend to notice that their ankle is still stiff, weak and unstable. They get nervous that they may sprain their ankle again if they go at full speed. Second, they tend to notice some lingering pain when they ratchet up the intensity or make certain movements. Third, they usually end up wearing some kind of brace to help stabilize their ankle, but this is a crutch and only makes their ankle weaker over time.
Fast forward to a few months later… their ankle is still hindering their speed and they still feel some residual pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. There is a high likelihood that they had another ankle sprain. Or worse, they start experiencing pain in another part of the body that seems unrelated, specifically the knees, hips or low back.
Basically, what I am trying to say is that an ankle sprain is far more serious than most people realize. In fact, even though you may seem okay after a month or two, there will be some serious lingering effects that may negatively impact your sports performance and put you at a higher risk for re-injury or an injury somewhere else in the body that is far more serious.
So, the point I am trying to make is that you should always rehab an injury, especially a sprained ankle. Take a little time and rehab the injury properly and you will quickly experience some great benefits:
1) You will actually heal a sprained ankle fast: it has been shown that a good ankle rehab program will speed up the healing process significantly over rest, ice, compression and elevation.
2) You will strengthen ankles and ankle stability which will dramatically lower your risk of a future injury in the ankle and you won’t be putting other areas of the body at increased risk for injury too.
3) You will have increased sports performance including speed, agility, balance and power since your ankles will be naturally strong, stable and mobile.
The other point I want to make is that it’s not all about recovering from an injury. A big part of this is called prehab, or injury prevention due to increased strength, stability and range of motion in the ankle joint. So, if you have weak ankles or an old injury, or if you play sports but just don’t think a lot about your ankles, do some good ankle prehab work to really protect your ankles and increase your overall sports performance.
Prehab and rehab for the ankles does not take very long and you will see and feel results that will really impact how you can move, run and jump. So, take another look at the ankles and don’t wait until you get an injury to start protecting yourself! And if you already have a sprain, take care to heal it the right way so you get back to 100% and can play at your best!