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Ankle Ligament Injury

Sprained Ankle & Sport

Minute Read


Posted 6 months ago


Last updated: 03/12/2022


by James McCormack

Can I cycle with a sprained ankle?

Yes, cycling on a stationary bike is one of the first cardiovascular activities that you can return to with a sprained ankle. The non-impact nature of cycling and the fact that it is linear in motion shouldn’t place any stress on the ligaments. Cycling a bike can help accelerate recovery from an ankle sprain as increased blood flow to the area can decrease swelling in the affected ankle. We recommend a steady-state cycle initially for 10-15 minutes, this should be pain-free to do and increase in increments of 5 minutes.

Picture of someone road cycling

Is it ok to walk on a sprained ankle?

You can walk on a sprained ankle if it doesn’t increase your pain levels during the activity. We recommend walking on a flat even surface with supportive shoes and sticking to short and frequent walks of 15-20 minutes. If there are no ill effects, you can slowly increase your walking capacity by 5 minutes each day. Try to wear a cushioned shoe and elevate your ankle after your walk.

Can walking on a sprained ankle make it worse?

In the acute stages of a high-grade ankle sprain, walking on a sprained ankle can increase pain levels and swelling in the ankle. If there is no pain when weight-bearing you can try a slow and steady walk however stick to 10-15 minutes initially as long walks or prolonged periods of time on your feet can make the symptoms of a sprained ankle worse.

Can you swim with a Sprained Ankle?

Yes, you can swim as soon as pain allows with a sprained ankle. The buoyancy of the water can help to reduce swelling in the joint and restore movement to the ankle. Avoid tumble turns of excessive use of your feet and don’t dive into the water.

Can you run on a sprained ankle?

Normally, you can return to running after a grade 1-2 ankle sprain within 4-6 weeks of injury if you have followed a thorough rehabilitation plan, set out by a Physical Therapist. Grade 2-3 ankle sprains can take up to 3 months before you can return to run. A hopping test is a good sign where if you can hop on the affected foot for up to 60 seconds without any pain during or afterward,  then you can consider trying a short run on a flat surface.


Will running on a sprained ankle make it worse?

Returning to running before your ankle has adequately recovered can make it worse. Even if the ankle ligaments have healed sufficiently but you don’t do a graded return to run, it can make the symptoms worse. We recommend seeing a Physical Therapist for a rehabilitation plan and developing a specific return-to-run plan before trying it yourself as there is a high risk of re-injury.

Can I play basketball on a sprained ankle?

It is not recommended to play basketball on a sprained ankle, especially in the acute phases of injury as it is likely to make the symptoms worse. We always recommend seeing a Physical Therapist if you have an ankle sprain. If you have a low-grade ankle sprain they might consider taping your ankle for extra stability so you can return to playing basketball early or they may recommend the use of an ankle brace.

Basketball Ankle Sprain Prevention

Consider the following steps to prevent ankle sprains in basketball:

  • Wear an ankle brace
  • Have your ankle taped before you play
  • Do ankle strengthening exercises 3 times a week
  • Practice balance and stability exercises 3 times a week
  • Take 1-2 days rest between games
  • Stretch your calf muscles daily.

How long is an ankle sprain recovery time for football?

On average for a grade 1 ankle sprain, it takes 2-4 weeks to return to football while a grade 2 ankle sprain can take 4-6 weeks. High-grade ankle sprains may take up to 3 months to return to football. For professional footballers, this may be slightly quicker and they may often tape their ankles for additional support on returning to play.

Can I hike after a sprained ankle?

You can return to hiking approximately 6 weeks after a Grade 1-2 ankle sprain. We recommend taking your time as the nature of hiking includes uneven and undulating surfaces which are key factors that can irritate an ankle sprain or increase the risk of a recurrence. Consider purchasing high ankle support hiking shoes and build up your cardiovascular fitness by cycling a bike in advance.

Can you play volleyball with a sprained ankle?

It is not advised to immediately return to volleyball with a sprained ankle. There are some stages to work through first; walking pain free, hopping pain free on the sport and hopping pain free in different directions.

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Related Article: Sprained Ankle: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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