The best way to bounce back after twisting your ankle is to start with the classic RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If you can walk without significant pain, you should be back to normal within a week or two.
However, if bearing weight causes significant pain, you should see a doctor to make sure that the injury isn’t more serious than you first thought. Believe it or not, you can fracture your ankle with just a twist.
I tell my patients to treat their ankle sprains aggressively from the beginning for the best chance of an early return to training. Start ankle-strengthening exercises (calf raises as well as ankle inversion and eversion exercises) immediately(moving the foot to the inside and outside), and for your endurance exercise, start with stationary cycling and transition slowly to an elliptical trainer or pool running, then finally to running. You need to feel 100 percent to run, so don’t register for another race until there’s almost no sign of the injury.
Dr. Sabrina Strickland is an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery’s Women’s Sports Medicine Center and at the Greenwich, CT, office of HSS. Her research has focused on anterior cruciate ligament injuries in women, as well as rotator cuff repair and shoulder instability.