- "This hurts like hell!"
- "Totally collapse all limbs right now! Get weight off that leg as quickly as possible."
- "It may be multiple months before I run again!"
The immediate treatment protocol has been written about ad nauseum: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. (RICE). A good overview of the initial 24-48 hour treatment recommendations can be found here. And don't forget to go to the doctor! You want to be sure nothing is broken, or cracked and about to be broken.
To rehabilitate the ankle my PT had me do the following:
- Strength. Stand on one leg. At the beginning you're working on basic strength. It's amazing how quickly it feels fatigued. Try to build up to 2-3 minutes. As it gets stronger do heel raises. Stand with your feet a little bit apart. Raise your heels so you're standing on the balls of your feet.
- Flexibility. Do standard calf stretches. Do the calf stretch where feet are shoulder width apart, one a bit in front of the other. Bend at the knees and you can get an extra degree of shin-over-the-foot flexibility. Take care of the opposite movement: While sitting in chair slide your foot (while flat on the floor) as far forward as it will go.
- Balance. Balance on one foot. Get those nerves better at firing as they should. When you can do that well make it more challenging. Fold your arms across your chest. Close your eyes. You want to improve proprioception - the body's ability to determine where a limb is in space from the muscles and tendons themselves.
I've read that the biggest risk factor for spraining your ankle is having previously sprained your ankle. So get it rehabilitated well and reduce the chances of it happening again.