T Nation

Arg!! Sprained Ankle


Well its official,
My first real serious injury since returning to exrecise and sports. I was playing Bball yesterday and I came down sideways on my ankle. Now its a nice small melon shape and has a wonderful blue and purple tinge to it.
Needless to say, I am takming a break from Bball and my cardio will be mostly swimming for awhile. I can walk on it pretty well, but anything else it out of the question now.
But here's the question. What about weight training?
It seems to me that upper body training will not be affected, since I can sit down or lay down for all of that. However, how do I gauge when to start squats and deadlifts again? Since there is no real twisting motion involved, I thought that they may be relatively safe to start soon, but I wanted to hear what people who really know what they are talking about would answer. Also, if squats are questionable, what about leg press mahcines for a little while?

Anyway, I was hoping for some saintly wisdom while I lie here on the couch with my laptop, my 9 month old on the floor playing, and my foot elevated.



Heehee, Jesus Freak wants saintly wisdom. That sounds funny. Sorry, okay then...

How 'bout no, Scotty, huh? The leg press would really be no different, in terms of stressing your injury, than squats or deads. As for those, I'd hold off until the swelling is 100% gone, and you have total R.O.M. again.

You may want to run this by Cressey or Coach Robertson if you can catch them on Prime Time. Till then, I'd say ice it down at least once or twice a day, to try to get rid of that swelling.


Try to maintain range of motion through gentle stretching and whatever movement is possible without serious pain. Thats a tough break. Get better soon.


Yeah, as a younger fool (now I'm an older fool) I twisted my ankles plenty of times.

As far as I'm concerned (and I'm no expert) it's a matter of safely working range of motion while it is healing. You'll probably find some directions hurt and some don't, but compare it to your good foot and work all directions or planes of motion carefully.

You should be able to notice a difference between "feeling it" and "pain". Pain means don't do that!

The threshold should move pretty quickly over the course of a week or so depending on the severity. For example, you may only use your leg muscles to move it around at first and then later you may push against things to get more stretch force.

In my untrained opinion, if you make sure you keep your range of motion, you'll come out never knowing you sprained it once it is solidly healed up again.

Also, look for what happened. In my youth I wore running shoes that were fairly unstable for things that required a lot of sideways motion, not smart. Alternately, I'd land on something that would twist my ankle. Unlucky. Do what you can to avoid repeats. Maybe you need better shoes? Maybe you were just unlucky?

Finally, suck it up. Stick to bodyweight until you have full range of motion back without discomfort. It won't take long to heal up and what you really don't want is to turn something minor into something major by finding out how much weight is too much the hard way.


For now, focus on getting the swelling down. Until you can get to weight-bearing lifts, do a ton of single-leg stuff for the uninjured side; you'll get some neural carryover to the injured side, making your rehab quicker.

Once the swelling has gone down and you're not experiencing as much pain, get to work on some proprioception drills. Start with single-leg stance with challenges to balance; progress from stable to unstable surfaces (yes, this is one instance when you should definitely be working with a wobble board or dyna-disc).


Cool, now you have some real advice. It's great to get these things straight from the experts!


a good friend of mine turned me on to this great stuff. just about all of her dance company uses it when necessary. from personal experience, my ankle bruise dissipated in 2-3 days instead of 7-10.

don't neglect your rehab/stretches. and if this is a repeat occurrence, consider taping your ankle(s). it's really easy to learn and do.


Thanks for the advice. That's precisely what I want to avoid. Right now I can still move it and function somewhat. However, the last thing I want to do is set myself back 10 weeks instead of several.



Thanks for the advice! I have been taking a complete break from leg stuff, but your advice makes a hell f a lot more sense. Also, this is the first I have heard of "proprioception drills." Sorry, I am still quite new to taking exercise seriously. Is the an article here I can read up on them about?



I'm wondering about leg ext and leg curl? Not much ankle movement there.