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What to do after an ankle sprain? Call the P.OL.I.C.E

What to do after an ankle sprain? Call the P.OL.I.C.E

I was starting to get a bit cocky, I’d managed to increase my long run up to 14 miles and everything was feeling ok, my 10k time was improving and I was feeling strong then two weeks out from the Langdale half marathon I managed to twist my ankle whilst out for a run.

I felt an initial sharp pain but then after walking for a minute or two it felt ok, I still had 5 miles to get home so after trying a tentative jog with minimal discomfort I set off again.

It coped with the rest of the run but I knew that evening and the next day I could feel some pain around the outside of left ankle and up into the outside of my calf.

I followed the advice I give to a lot of my patients after an acute injury and followed the P.OL.I.C.E protocol which stands for:

Protect – Try and avoid further overloading the damaged tissue

Optimally Load – Complete rest is often unnecessary you just need to find a level of exercise/loading that the tissue can cope with

Ice – Stick an ice pack on it for 10-15 minutes (Ice and water in a plastic bag wrapped in a tea towel to protect your skin

Compression – Wrapping the injured area in an elasticated bandage or tubigrip this helps to minimize swelling which can lead to secondary tissue damage due to the increased hydrostatic pressure in the injured area.

Elevation – Place the injured area above the level of your heart to allow gravity to help drain any swelling.

After approximately 48hrs I started trying some single leg balance exercises to help improve my ankle proprioception which was significantly worse after the injury. This initially consisted with just balancing on the affected ankle and then over the next week progressing to moving my other leg in different directions and standing on a pillow and eventually hopping in multiple directions.

I also started doing some elastic resisted exercises for the muscles on the indie and outside of my shin (see video below).

I avoided any running for the next 9 days which was harder than I thought it would be, I could feel myself getting more and more grumpy due to lack of running and although I was still cycling to and from work it didn’t give me the same stress relief that I get from running.

On the positive side it did force me to taper my running prior to the Langdale half marathon on Saturday and the two 4 mile runs I’ve managed this week have felt fine lets see how it copes with those all those hills.

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