Q When can I run after an ankle sprain?
The answer to this question is dependent on the severity of your particular injury. After suffering an ankle sprain, the first step is to wrap up the ankle and ice it, then see a doctor to ensure no serious damage to the bone or ligament has occurred. In very mild ankle sprains, it is possible to start running again after 1-2 weeks, but it is typically recommended that at this time a brace is worn for extra support and that you start running a shorter distance to ensure you don't overdo it. If a severe ankle sprain has been experienced, it may be closer to a month or 6 weeks until running is recommended - as it will be recommended that home or structured physical therapy is completed to restore appropriate ankle function and strength to prevent re-injury. In instances where an ankle sprain has led to a fracture in the ankle - whether this is treated surgically or non-surgically, you should plan to be out of running for 8 week - 3 months.
Some athletic activities require more side-to-side motion and this type of activity should be avoided longer, as it places your ankle at risk of re-injury more than running in a straight line. This includes soccer, volleyball, football and dancing or gymnastics. There are athletic activities at the opposite end of the spectrum that require less motion and strain on the ankle and these activities are great options to stay in shape while you are recovering. Such activities include water aerobics, water walking and running, swimming, recumbent bike, upper body strength exercises and core workouts.
More specific questions about returning to your normal activities can be answered in the office, so don't hesitate to call! To learn more about ankle sprains, please read our article, All about ankle sprains!