When can I resume working out after an ankle sprain?
BY: Jennifer Viegas
The answer depends on how serious your injury is. If the pain is severe; you can't move your foot; or you have numbness, redness or new crooked, bony lumps at the site of the injury, you should consult your physician, advises Sue Elderkin, M.A., physical therapist and coordinator of outpatient rehabilitation at Alta Bates Summit Hospital in Berkeley, Calif.
However, if it's a minor sprain, you should be able to resume exercise after the initial swelling goes down, usually within two or three days, says Elderkin. In fact, while ice and rest are fine for a day or two, "if the damaged area is unused for too long, you may develop scar tissue that could permanently stiffen movement," she says. So once you're back on your feet (so to speak), ease back into exercise with equipment that limits weight-bearing, such as a stationary bike. Since gentle motion promotes circulation and may increase the rate of healing, even moving your leg (carefully) and wiggling your toes can help!
Jennifer Viegas, contributing writer to Live Right Live Well, has covered health, food and fitness for ABC News, Discovery online, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Knight Ridder newspapers. The author of more than 20 books, she is also a James Beard Award nominee.