Rolling your ankle on a run is the last thing anyone wants. It can happen to anyone, and could be your fault, or might just be plain bad luck. If you’re in the habit of performing the classic ankle roll, or have recently rolled your ankle, this post will help you with recovery, and prevent them from occuring again in the future.
What Classifies an Ankle Roll?
An ankle roll is when your ankle gives in, and the weight and momentum of everything above your ankle continues to push forward. This puts extreme strain and pressure on the joint, tendons, and ligaments in your ankle.
Really bad ones can lead to a sprained ankle, or even worse, a broken ankle.
How Do Ankle Rolls Happen?
For me, the primary reason ankle rolls tend to happen is when I start getting fatigued on a run. I’ll be near the end of a trail run and starting to feel tired. This can lead me to carelessness in terms of foot placement.
The next thing I know I’ll put a foot down in a bad position on an incline, rock, or tree root and roll my ankle.
Other times they might happen on especially rough terrain (think lots of chunky, loose rocks).
If you’ve previously injured your foot or ankle, then they might start occuring more frequently as the tendons in the area can stretch and weaken.
How to Recover from and Prevent an Ankle Roll?
If you’ve stretched tendons or damaged ligaments in your foot and ankle from an ankle roll, then some of the following exercises should help. Just remember to always check with a doctor or physiotherapist to be sure!
- Do ankle strengthening exercises. Resistance bands work well. You should be able to use really easy bands to start with, then work your way up as your recovery proceeds.
- If you roll your ankle, try not to run on it any further if you can help it. Walk back if you have to. Once an ankle rolls, the chances of it rolling again on that very run will significantly increase!
- Strengthen the achilles tendon once you have fully recovered. Heel lifts, and runner’s stretches that focus on the achilles will help prevent ankle rolls in the future.
- Try to exercise the full range of motion in your ankles. You can do ankle circles by lifting your leg in front of your body and moving your foot side to side and up and down. Or just rotate your foot in circles. Another technique is to draw out the alphabet with your toes pointing out like a pen or pencil.
- Balance and stability training can help to retrain your muscles to work together and support the joint. A good way of doing this is a balance board. Start off slow and easy, increasing difficulty as you recover and get better with your balance. Increase difficulty by progressing from a double foot stance to a single foot balance stance. Then lastly, close your eyes to again increase balance difficulty.
- Shoe heel drop: If you’ve very cushioned heels with a large drop then you’re increasing your chance of an ankle roll. The higher the center of gravity is on your ankle, the easier it’ll roll. If you can, try to find a pair of shoes with a smaller drop that gets your ankles a little lower down.
Hopefully the above tips will get you well on the road to recovery from an existing ankle roll.
Strengthening your feet, ankles, and achilles tendons should also help to prevent them from occuring again in the future.