Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Getting back to fitness after I sprained my ankle

David ClarkeI was on a recent coaching defending course and during the session I sprained my ankle. I have never really had a bad sprain  of the ankle before – knees yes but ankles no – and this has proved rather painful and is taking time to get over it. I’ve done a fair amount of research into sprains and strains so I thought I’d share this with you.

What is a sprain? A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, the fibrous band of connective tissue that joins the end of one bone with another. Ligaments stabilise and support the body’s joints. For example, ligaments in the knee connect the upper leg with the lower leg, enabling people to walk and run.

What is a strain? A strain is a twist, pull and/or tear of a muscle and/or tendon. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscles to bone. What causes sprains and strains? A sprain is caused by direct or indirect trauma (a fall, a blow to the body, etc.) that knocks a joint out of position, overstretches, and, in severe cases, ruptures the supporting ligaments. Typically, this injury occurs when an individual lands on an outstretched arm, slides into a tackle, jumps up and lands on the side of the foot, or runs on an uneven surface.

I’ve been doing some simple ankle strengthening exercises, balancing on just the leg with the sprained ankle for two minutes or standing on a step with just the balls of my feet and standing up and down on my toes and I am now at the stage where I can strengthen my ankle and am doing the following exercises to help:

  • Jogging
    Begin at 50% intensity. Jog 100 yards, walk 100 yards. Repeat 4 times. Increase intensity and duration over 2-3 weeks
  • Figure of Eights
    Jog in a figure-of-8 pattern around cones. Begin with the cones near each other. Each day, spread out the cones and increase the speed.
  • Box Runs
    Make a box of cones. Jog forward the first side, side shuttle to the right, run backwards, then side shuttle to the left. Again, increase the size of the box and the speed of the running each day.
    Once these activities can be done at full speed with no pain, patients can resume their sport.

It is important to state that if you still get pain seek proper advice!

While I hope you’ll find this blog useful, it won’t make you a first aider. All soccer coaches should go on an emergency first aid course before they take their first training session. In the UK, there are several providers of this type of training. St John Ambulance is one and the FA include a module on first aid in their Level 1 course.

In the US, the American Red Cross offers courses and you can get advice from the NSCAA.

Soccer fitness and diet


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[…] Sprain Is A Health Hazard and Sprained ankle recovery tips from a golf expert and The Common Ankle […]

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