Sports Academy ACE Performance Blog

Rolled Ankle 

Have you rolled or sprained your ankle? Are you ticking off the correct protocols to return to training efficiently?

Here is an outline of our checklist we use with athletes:

Phase One (The next day after the injury):
– Continue with the classic ‘RICE’ approach
– Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation
– We need to encourage fresh new blood in to the affected area and this happens through movement.
– Mobilise the joint through ranges that are free from pain
– Pull your toes back to your knee
– Push your toes away from your ankle
– Spell the alphabet with your big toes
– Load the joint through ranges that are free from pain
– Walking – Balancing – Climbing stairs

Phase Two:
– Continue with phase one exercises first
– Mobilise the joint through progressive loading
– Standing on your feet attempt to touch your knee to your toes – work through a range that is pain free
– Calf raises – stationary and then walking
– Load the joint through progressive dynamic ranges
– Skipping – Jogging – Balance and wobble
– Create an un-steady surface and work on your balance
– Allow the foot to organise itself and find the most efficient position

Phase Three:
– Continue with phase two exercises first
– Incorporate jogging and running in to the program
– Begin to stress the ankle laterally
– Jumping and landing – small
– Lateral lunge
– Build in to more dynamic and higher velocity movement patterns
– Skip for distance – Skip for height

Phase Four:
– Continue with phase two and three exercises first
– Incorporate change of direction drills through ranges that are pain free
– Lateral bounding – Ladder drills – Hopping – Jumping and landing – Drop step / cut / pivot

To watch a demonstration of some of the exercises discussed, click HERE.  

Once an athlete has reached phase four, every effort should be made to return the athlete back to full training as efficiently as possible. It must be noted that the athlete will not have run at full speed for a period of time so this must be progressively implemented back in to the training plan by the support staff.

Many athletes will find they are more confident with their ankle strapped for training and games, this provides support and ultimately a stronger ankle complex. Strapping for up to 3 months is often seen, however athletes will still need to train during the week without strapping present. Loading of the connective tissue without the strapping provides a stimulus for growth and development which is important after the rehab of a joint.

If you are having any reoccurring ankle injuries, or any injuries for that matter, please don’t hesitate getting into contact with me at or come down to the gym at the Mannix campus to have a chat.