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Rehab exercises for Sprained Ankle

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries for runners and you also experience it simply by meeting minor mishaps in everyday life. But did you know that it can result in lifelong problems? Some people with repeated sprains can develop long-term joint weakness and pain. Hence, treating a sprained ankle helps a lot by preventing possible problems.


Physical Therapy offers rehab exercises that are critical to letting your ankle heal completely and prevention of reinjury. In this article, we will be dishing out some range of motion exercises for your ankle and some helpful tips as well.


You have to note that you can begin the healing process by simply walking or bearing weight, as long as you don’t have pain when doing so. Also, it’s very important to start a range of motion exercises in the first 72 hours after the injury. These would involve some stretching, strength training, and balance exercises that would last for several weeks and months. It would depend on the severity of your injury though and other factors that might affect your condition.


Rehab Exercises for Sprained Ankle

Physical Therapists would always tell you that each exercise should be started at a slow pace and to use your pain level to guide you in doing these exercises. If you feel pain then you have to ease off your exercise. Keep in mind that the kind of rehab exercise program that your Physical therapist will give you still depends on your condition and the Physician’s recommendations.

Range-of-motion exercises

As we have mentioned above, Range-of-motion exercises begin right after your injury. Try doing these exercises and then put ice on your ankle, up to 5 times a day or as prescribed by your PT. These are easy to do while you are at your desk working or watching TV. But remember, this should be done first with your Physical Therapist.

  1. One of the most common is tracing the alphabet with your toe. This ROM encourages ankle movement in all directions. Physical therapists recommend that you do this 1 to 3 times every day.

  2. Another is to sit in a chair with your foot flat on the floor. Next, slowly move your knee from side to side but make sure that your foot is pressed flat then continue this movement for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stretching exercises

We also have some stretching exercises for a sprained ankle. These stretching exercises improve the Achilles tendon, but physical therapists warn that you should do the stretching without pain. The best stretching exercises for these are the Towel stretch and Calf stretch which we were able to teach the steps in our previous articles.

Strengthening exercises

You can also ask your physician or Physical Therapists for strengthening exercises of the ankle. However, you can start with it when you’re able to stand without any increased pain or swelling. You can do some Isometric exercises, isotonic exercises, balance, and coordination exercises. You can do 8-12 repetitions of these exercises once or twice a day for a minimum of two weeks.

Isometric Exercise:

  • First, place your ankle in the "up and out" position against a fixed object such as a couch.

  • Hold this position for a count of 10.

  • Repeat the steps 10 times but if you feel any pain stop what you’re doing.

Isotonic Exercise:

  • Start by tying the resistance bands around a fixed object and wrap the ends around your forefoot.

  • Carefully start with your foot pointing down and pull your ankle up as far as you can.

  • Slowly return to the starting position and cycle your ankle 10 times.

It’s important that you understand that these are just some of the basic exercises you can do. Your Physical Therapist will still create a more individualized program that only fits your needs. Call or send us a message for more information.


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