Dealing With Ankle Sprains

Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 by Jeb

This Months Training Tip
Ankle Sprains

     All right, all right! You knew what was coming. There was no avoiding an article on ankles. There is an obvious need for some information on the subject as it is the most common injury in skateboarding, aside from scrapes and bruises.

     Contrary to popular belief, the best remedy for an ankle sprain is not a 40oz. of malt liquor and chasing women with your boys at a club in Ybor all night. It never ceases to amaze me when I see someone roll their ankle and keep skating, or worse yet, stop skating and walk around on it all night like it is some badge of honor. I was accused of sounding like someone’s mother in the first article, and I appreciate the compliment. I pride myself in helping people to get better at what they do, or be able get back to doing what they love as soon as possible.

     First of all, when you hurt an ankle, you need to see a doctor immediately to make sure you have not hurt yourself worse than you thought. The steps that are listed below will apply to almost any related injury and will help reduce further damage to the joint and speed up the healing process before and after seeing your physician.

     Time is the key with any injury. The sooner you take care of it, the less of a problem it will become and the sooner you’ll be back on the board. This is exactly what we all want, right? There is a really easy acronym to remember when it comes to dealing with spraining your ankle. This is R.I.C.E., or rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Rest      This is most obvious and the most overlooked. When something is injured, it needs to be rested so the healing process can begin. The sooner you give your ankle a break, the quicker it is going to recover. By getting off the ankle, you also reduce the risk of further injuring it and reduce the amount of time it will take to heal. Bottom line here is, the sooner you deal with it, the sooner you’ll be back on the board. You are probably going to need crutches to get around until it is pain-free. Crutches are a pain in the butt, but will speed up the healing process. Do not walk on it until the pain and the swelling subside!

Ice      Ice is the treatment of choice for almost every injury, not heat! Ice helps reduce the swelling. The more it swells, the longer it will take to heal. So get ice on that thing immediately! The sooner you ice, the quicker you will heal. Ice should be applied for no longer than 20 minutes at a time and can be used every hour for 20 minutes on, one hour off. Repeat as often as possible until you are back on your feet, and even then it will help speed your recovery. Never use heat, unless directed by your doctor.

Compression      Compression simply means putting pressure on the injury to also help in the reduction of swelling. This is accomplished by simply using an ace bandage to wrap the ankle. Not too tight, not too loose. Have your doctor, your friend, or your parents do this for you and let them know how it feels. Keep it wrapped at all times until the swelling and pain subsides.

Elevation      This is also simply to keep the swelling down by reducing the fluid getting to the limb by keeping it elevated whenever possible. Elevation is especially important just after injuring it and for the next few days. Place your ankle on a pillow in a chair when sitting or lying on the couch. Sit it in a chair in front of you at school. Once again, the more you do this, the quicker you will be able to ride again.

     Remember to always get an injury checked out by a physician! Taking care of your injuries immediately and effectively will help you get back to doing what you love. Of course, not hurting yourself would be the best option, but this we cannot control. However, with the proper training, we can help prevent injury or limit the damage done. Next month’s article will cover what to do after injuring your ankle to help rehab it and prevent this from happening. So keep riding, and enjoy!

     Jeb is a trainer and coach and works with athletes and individuals from all walks of life. Find out about his services at

Jeb can be reached at or
or (813) 230-2900