Ankle sprains and rolls are common in basketball and other winter sports
So you sprained your ankle. Now what? Depending on the severity of the sprain, the healing process is typically two to eight weeks, but rehabilitation and strengthening exercises should continue even after you return to activity.
When an ankle injury happens
- Mild injuries, such as a rolled ankle or a mild sprain, can be treated initially using the RICE protocol:
- Rest – Stop exercise until your symptoms are gone. When you return to activity, do so gradually.
- Ice – Put ice on the injured area for 20 minutes at a time several times a day to help reduce swelling.
- Compress – Use ACE wraps or compression dressings to help with swelling.
- Elevate – Keep the ankle elevated above the heart as much as possible.
- Use over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications to help reduce swelling and pain.
- If pain or swelling doesn’t go down within a couple of days, an athletic trainer or physician should be consulted.
If you cannot put weight on the injured ankle, if you have moderate to severe swelling, or there is unusual bruising or discoloration, see a doctor or athletic trainer as soon as possible.
Do I tape or brace?
- For support after an injury, ankle taping may be used during practice or games based on a sports medicine professional’s recommendation.
- Use a brace for long-term ankle protection throughout the season. Always make sure you consult an athletic trainer to get the right kind of brace.
- Taping or bracing should not be used during ankle injury prevention exercises, as it will decrease the overall effectiveness of techniques to strengthen the ankle joint.