How Long After Sprain Before I Can Jump?

After spraining my ankle I notice I can step down off stairs or curbs but I still can't jump across a puddle or other obstacles. How long does it take to get this skill back?

Acute ankle injury takes about four to six weeks to recover and heal. This means the pain and swelling are gone and you can put your full weight on that leg.

Moderate to severe ankle sprains often involve a torn ligament. Ligaments do not heal like muscles do. Once they are torn, scar tissue fills in. The elastic quality of the ligament is gone. The result can be changes in the joint's sense of movement and position in space called proprioception.

Loss of proprioception may result in ankle instability. Changing position and keeping balance can be difficult. The skill may not come back without a rehab program to "reset" joint proprioception.

A Physical Therapist can test your ankle and let you know if rehab is needed. He or she can also set you up on a rehab program. With careful practice on your part, your ankle can be restored in several weeks to several months.

Erik A. Wikstrom, MS, ATC/L, et al. Detection of Dynamic Stability Deficits in Subjects with Functional Ankle Instability. In Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. February 2005. Vol. 37. No. 2. Pp. 169-175.