After an ankle sprain, returning to running can be challenging. Without taking preventative measures to prevent sprains in the future and allowing your ankle time to heal, you could easily re-injure your ankle or cause more serious injury. If you are ready to start running again following a sprain, here are some tips for ensure you get off to a safe and healthy start.
Choose the Right Shoes
According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, the right pair of running shoes can help prevent injuries. The organization recommends buying your running shoes from a store that specializes in athletic shoes so that you can receive professional advice on the right shoes.
Ideally, the shoe that you select should fit nicely right away. The idea that the shoes need to be broken in is not true. Walk or jog around with the shoes on in the store. When you move in the shoes, there should not be any slippage between your heel and the shoe.
Focus on Strengthening Exercise
The sprain to your ankle has helped to weaken the muscles around it. To help avoid injury, you need to focus on building up those muscles again. Balance exercises are a great way to build up the muscles and test out whether or not your ankle is really ready for running. Strengthening exercises can include single-legged squats. Use a chair to lean on while doing your exercises to reduce the chances of re-injuring your ankle.
Wear Ankle Supports
Ankle supports are a crucial component of getting yourself back on the road. The supports provide additional protections against possible injury. There are a range of supports (available from companies like Orthomedix) from which you can choose, including some that have Velcro straps and metal or plastic supports. The supports work by stabilizing your ankle so that while you are running, it is less likely to roll and cause re-injury.
Ease Into Running
Although you want to start running as soon as possible, start off by walking. Power walking can be beneficial and provide you with the workout you wanted, but also help give your ankle time to properly heal. You can gradually move to running again over a period of a couple of weeks.
The most important thing to remember when trying to run following an ankle injury is that if you do not take the necessary precautions, you could re-injure your ankle and be out longer than before. Take your time and talk to your doctor before you start running again to learn other pointers that can help keep you on the track.