Ankle Sprain - advice on recovery and coming back

This is long-- Yesterday I sprained my ankle in a football game. I went to the hospital and they didn’t see anything wrong with the X-Rays (so no fractures luckily), but I am getting and MRI on Monday or Tuesday (as soon as possible) to see what type of sprain it is. They said it was not a high ankle sprain, just an “ankle sprain.” I don’t think the person really knew what they were talking about. I feel the pain laterally, on area on the outside of my ankle. It is not too severe, I think, but it is too soon to tell.

My questions are what kind of therapy can I get done to help recover? Is there any type of massage therapy or accupuncture that would work for this?

Would any recovery modalities such as ultrasound or stim be useful and what would the recommendations for these be?

What kind of nutrition should I focus on? I plan on keeping a healthy diet so body composition does not go to hell, but recommendations on certain supplements that may speed up the process would be helpful.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post–any help would be appreciated.

Bro, i just had a grade three sprain three weeks ago. There is no magic, everything that the doctor and athletic trainer tells yo to do, make sure you do it. This is exactly what i did and I am getting back to full speed. Get yourself lots of bags of ice and dump them in a five gallon bucket with cold water. It hurts but you have to do it, stick your foot in for about 20 minutes, do that a couple of times a day. , you have to elevate it(above your heart) all night while you are in bed and wrap it up when you know you will on your feet. You have to be diligent. i did this for two weeks straight. On top of that I took Motrin. Once the swelling in gone, you have to some friction massage on the tendon/ligament area that you hurt. this will hurt alot but you have to get rid of that scar tissue. Good luck

i would do hot and cold contrast baths while it is still swollen and then switch over to ice as frit said. MAKE SURE YOU TAKE ENOUGH TIME FOR IT. I sprained my ankle last outdoor and it wasn’t too bad so I ran it off and kept on training. it turned into tendinitis which i ignored (i was in denial… it was championship season!) for 2 months, and by the end of the season i was in sharp, constant pain. I had to spend hundreds of dollars in physical therapy all summer getting hydrocortisone ultrasound and massage, and i couldn’t run. Even now, it is still not quite back to the way it was before, and may always be more sensitive.

i would also recommend resistance band exercises once it heals up some more- they are great not only for ankles, but also all of those stabilizing muscles in your feet, ankles, and shins.

I spoke with my aunt today who is a massage therapist (out in Denver though). I took off the ace bandage that was holding my fiberglass splint that the hospital put on it to self-examine. There was virtually no swelling yesterday and virtually none today (only a little bit very site specific). I found the ligament that is sore. She thinks it it probably a stretched ligament due to the lack of swelling. I tend to think the same. I am doing the standard RICE. I am going to see what comes of the orthapedic visit either monday or tuesday. I have already gotten into contact with a local massage therapist that can free up some of the scar tissue and help get my overall muscle tonus in my body back to normal since football is basically over for me now. Kras- what protocols did your therapist use with the ultrasound? I have ultrasound, stim, ice baths, and some other modalities at my dispense for free (thanks to one of the wealthies public high schools in the area) that I plan on using as soon and as frequent as possible.


Yeah i bet you had a slight sprain(grade 1), not a big deal. If you really tweaked it, like i did, you would know it. Your ankle would deformed from all the swelling. My whole foot was huge, and then I had bruising from my toes to half way up my shin.

Anyways save your money, you can do friction massage yourself and you will be able to feel exaclty what ligament you hurt. I bet you will back to speed in a week. When I get hurt, i like to find out everything about the injury. Really learn how it happened, the body parts involved, how to fix it and how long it taked to heal. Become a student of your body, it will help you and the people trying to help you.

You are a football player correct? I was too and i can say the it will probably happen again(its just really hard for it not to happen in a contact sport) some things you just dont have control over. Once you are better make that ankle as strong as possible. Good luck bro

I had a very slight sprain before. I rolled my ankle on the way to a triathalon, but I still competed (not a great idea), and had no problems. This is a little more sore. I knos I can massage it myself, but I was already planning on getting a massage for the end of the season to fix all of the little nots I have gotten throughout the season, so I figure I may as well do it now.

Thanks for your help I appreciate it. If anyone else has anymore to say, it would be greatly appreciated.

My therapist had me get i think a 10% hydrocortisone cream (i had to get a prescription for it and go to a special place that did custom compounds) and she would slather that stuff on me and just rub the ultrasound around for probably 10 or 15 minutes, then she would do some range of motion, resistance tests, then usually massage of my ankle and lower leg.

The ultrasound and hydrocortisone just act as a major anti-inflammatory, since my sprain turned into major tendinitis and probably other problems as well, since I don’t feel it was really ever properly diagnosed. But the stuff did help.

Oh yeah if you just recently injured the ankle, i would only apply ice for the first few days and then add in heat. When i added heat, it made swelling and pain worse.

Frit -

I’m in the same boat as you, grade 3 sprain (plus fracture) three and a half weeks ago in a football game, major swelling, bruising and unable to bear weight for first five days. I missed the last 3 games but started practicing this week. I plan on playing this Saturday (probably stupid) because of the magnitude of the game.

Definitely do the ice bucket, I did this religiously for the first 2 weeks and the swelling did go down. I’ve just started hot/cold baths, theraband exercises, and light barefoot tempo whenever possible. My question is, how do you perform the friction massage on yourself?

P.S. I haven’t seen an orthopoedist yet (also stupid) but I have an appointment next week.

Sorry this took so long, we had a big game up here in boston tonight(go sox)

What ligament did you tear? I figure it was your anterior talo/fibular? Thats the most common. I usually ice the area down for 10 minutes. Then when it feels good and numb I gently start rubbing(w/my thumbs) the area ACROSS the ligament, not up and down. The first time I did this i was sweating bad from the pain. But the more I did it, the better it felt. When my swelling finally subsided, i had a huge lump of scar tissue and so far with the massage I have managed to get about 50% of it out. There is still a good lump there and now I am having alot of other problems in my ankle. For example my achilles hurts now when I planter flex, My two big toes are numb, and the swelling comes and goes and I have pain on the talus itself. When i went to the doctor i think he may have missed something becuase the swelling was so bad, he may not have seen a break. You wanna know whats funny, i played college ball and hardly got hurt(a small sprain) i did this simply walking down the stairs!!!

Schnig, i feel for you man. Iknow it hurts to miss football games, but in the long run you want to be fully healed. Just see what the ortho says. ( i havnt been to one either). I am slowly getting back to speed, but i really think its going to be a good 6 months before I am full healed if ever.

Good luck in the game this weekend. I would tape your ankle, wear an air cast and then tape your cleats too, and maybe pray too. I know you cant miss the big game. Let me know how it goes.

One thing that I really liked was the Cryo Cuff.

My high school had one and even let me borrow it when I sprained my ankle a few times. It’s great. Provides great compression which I think is the hardest component of RICE. Very good in the acute stage.

You just fill up the little cooler with water and ice (I used snow sometimes). Raise it above the level of your foot until the boot fills. Then you disconnect the tube from the boot and you are good to go for 20 minutes.