I entered my first race on Sunday 17th MT 10K and at 4 miles I turned my ankle. It was a significant sprain but I ran on through the pain (not good). I have been giving it the rice treatment and am wondering - At what stage do I change to heat treatment or hot & cold and when should I get back on the road?


  • Steve,

    You did the right thing by using the RICE method and seeing as you have got over the initial 24-48 hrs, now would be the time to switch to the hot/cold treatment. This is called contrast bathing. Get two bowls of water, one as cold as you can stand, the other as hot as you can stand (without scalding yourself of course). Put your foot into the cold water for at least ten minutes but maximum 15. Do the same for the hot bowl. Remove your foot and let recover for a few minutes then do it again. After the second 'set' dry your foot and put on your support again. Cold water reduces the swelling and reduces formation of scar tissue, hot water improves the circulation and enables healing to start! I would rest completely for a week and then see how it feels. Unfortunately, sprains can be worse than breaks and take longer to heal.

    Once you have completely recovered, you will need to do some special exercises to re-educate the muscles in your ankles but advise going to see a sports physio for that.
  • 2 things Steve-make sure your ankle is stable before you venture out running again-if not you'll compensate and this normally leads to injuries elsewhere-also I'd recommend getting a wobble board-they great for strenghtening the ankle joint.

    good luck
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