Sprained Ankle - 6 weeks before NY Marathon!!

Ten miles into a 22 mile run last weekend,I sprained my ankle ( not very badly). Do I still have a realistic chance of running the New York marathon in six weeks time?

Plus any recovery tips would be much appreciated.




  • If it is a low grade sprain then yes I would say 6 weeks was ok ...

  • Hard luck Lorraine,

    I think you've a good chance if it's a mile strain... (but it will mess up your training programme a bit!)

    As for tips for recovery, sprains should be treated with the normal RICE treatment.  You should have started this soon after the injury...

    Rest for a couple of days...  but don't over-rest it after this - need some movement.  Hopefully you did this.

    Ice..   put an ice pack on every few hours on the swollen area.  Don't forget to put the ice in a towel or something to protect the skin.

    Compress...  bandage up during the day. Enough to give good support without killing circulation.

    Elevate...  lifting  your leg above heart level will help reduce swelling...  so sit back and watch the telly!

    Then what?...  well hopefully you've done some of the above, and it's feeling a bit better...you should be looking to do some stretching and movement.  But really, I'm going to stop now. You must have invested a lot in plane travel, hotels etc for NY...  I suggest you go and invest 30-40 quid more, and go and see a good sports physio.  Far better than taking tips of the forum!


  • Thank you so much for your advise - I going to find a sport physio and stay positive! 

  • Hi Lorraine,

    Great advice from M...eldy and Run Wales.

    I'm a Physio, if you answer a couple of questions for me I can give you an idea of your prognosis.

    Any swelling? If so was immediately after the injury?

    Any giving way of the ankle?

    Is it painful to walk on?
  • Hi Tom Goom,

    Thank you for your interest.

    My ankle did swell up but that has all but gone now (a week  later). My ankle feels strong - no giving way but my ankle bone still hurts.......what's the prognosis? 

  • Good I'd say!

    For a mild ankle sprain people can return to light running in as little as a week or 2 providing they take it slowly and keep it pain free.

    I'd cross train initially with swimming, cycling or gym work and maybe try a few minutes on a treadmill to see how it feels.

    Avoid sudden twisting movements as this could re-injure the area, this includes trail running or running in the wet - either surface can be unpredictable and risky after a sprain. You can also strap the ankle if you feel you need more support and it's helpful to do some balance exercises too.

    Hope that helps

    Good luck

  • Cheers Tom, you're a star! I will take your advise.  


  • I sprained my ankle 2 weeks before a tri - after 3 days on crutches (no weight bearing) then gradually getting back into it was fine.  

    Rode my bike after a week, ran after 10days, did a tri 2weeks +1day later.

    All is not lost ! Just be sensible - follow the advice above (got similar from my physio sis-in-law) give it some rest, if it hurts when you run stop.

    Have a great time in NY ! 

  • I sprained my ankle fairly badly just 4 days before an off-road marathon. Bruising, swelling, pain to walk on. For the next three days I iced it and strapped it up to minimise the swelling, then ran with it strapped up and with a compression sock over the top. Got round the course fine although a fair bit slower than I'd normally have managed. I think the adrenaline dulled any pain and I don't think running on it slowed my recovery any. Though a few weeks later I developed shin pain/shin splints in the same leg, something that I had never had before in 10 years of running, and I suspect the shin problem was related to the ankle sprain, and running on it when I probably shouldn't have...

  • Hi runs-with-dogs,

    Wow, you ran a marathon 4 day's after a sprain! That's all the incouragement I need!

    Thanks for that.

  • Well... like I say, it probably wasn't the sensible thing to do! I think it contributed to the start of my shin pain a few weeks afterwards so bear that in mind. I'm not exactly recommending running on sprains, just telling you I was dumb enough to do it and my foot didn't fall off or anythin.

    Though with 6 weeks to recover, I'd imagine you should be fine. Good luck!

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