The key to preventing chronic ankle sprain is to make sure there is proper joint alignment and function as well as proper proprioception. Most people know RICE, (rest, ice compression, and elevation) which is crucial during the first 2-3 days of an ankle sprain. But to prevent recurrent sprains it is important to insure a return to proper joint movement.
Making sure there is proper joint alignment and function is also crucial in preventing recurrent ankle sprains. Having worked with tons of soccer, football and basketball players, I often see one or two of the bones in the ankle or foot misalign with a sprain and then heal out of place. These types of misalignments interfere with joint proprioception and lead to future re-sprain. Make sure to have your sprained ankle checked by your chiropractor and adjusted if necessary within the first few days of the sprain if possible.
Proprioception involves the nerve endings in the joint. They relay information to your brain about where your ankle is in relationship to the ground. Proprioception is often disrupted after ankle sprains and needs to be reset. Besides getting the bones realigned with an adjustment, one of the best ways to do this is to trace the letters of the alphabet with your toes. In the first few days this is often very painful so it is best to do this after the ankle is numbed in an ice bath. This can be done the first or second day after a sprain and will help to restore proper nerve messages and joint function to the joint.
The final stage of proper rehab involves stability training exercises. Within the first few days, one simple approach is to practice standing barefoot on the side of the ankle sprain. Work up to 60 seconds.
In conclusion, to rehab ankle sprains remember RICE first. Next make sure to address proprioception by getting any ankle misalignments adjusted and using ABC exercises to address all ranges of motion. Finally, use balance exercises to stabilize and restore proprioception.