Start rehab with range-of-motion exercises in the first 72 hours after your injury. Continue with further rehab, including stretching, strength training, and balance exercises, over the next several weeks to months. You can do rehab exercises at home or even at the office to strengthen your ankle.
- 1 What is the fastest way to heal a sprained ankle?
- 2 How long should you stay off a sprained ankle?
- 3 How long should you rest a badly sprained ankle?
- 4 Is it OK to walk on a sprained ankle?
- 5 Can a sprained ankle heal in 2 days?
- 6 Should I wrap a sprained ankle at night?
- 7 Should a sprained ankle still be swollen after a week?
- 8 What is the difference between a rolled ankle and a sprained ankle?
- 9 Should you exercise a sprained ankle?
- 10 What happens if a sprain is left untreated?
- 11 What helps ligaments heal faster?
- 12 What exercises can I do with a sprained ankle?
- 13 How do you tell if a sprained ankle is healing?
- 14 Should a sprained ankle still hurt after 3 weeks?
- 15 How can you tell if you tore a ligament in your ankle?
- 16 Sprained Ankle: Rehabilitation Exercises
- 17 How to do rehabilitation exercises for an ankle sprain
- 18 Credits
- 19 15 Exercises for Your Sprained Ankle
- 19.1 1. Ankle alphabet
- 19.2 2. Knee motion
- 19.3 3. Towel and tissue scrunches
- 19.4 4. Towel stretch
- 19.5 5. Standing calf stretch
- 19.6 6. Heel raise
- 19.7 7. One-leg balance
- 19.8 8. Elastic band push
- 19.9 9. Elastic band pull
- 19.10 10. Ankle out
- 19.11 11. Ankle in
- 19.12 12. Basic balance
- 19.13 13. Balance with eyes closed
- 19.14 14. Pillow balance
- 19.15 15. Pillow balance with eyes closed
- 20 How to Self-Care Rehab a Sprained Ankle
- 21 Ankle Sprains – Inversion Mechanism of Injury
- 22 How are Inversion Ankle Sprains Graded or Categorized
- 23 Steps in the Rehabilitation Process of a Sprained Ankle
- 24 Recovering from an ankle sprain
- 25 Ankle Sprain Exercises
- 26 Stretches
- 27 Range of Motion Exercises
- 28 Resisted Movement
- 29 Balance Exercises
- 30 Strengthening
- 31 How to Strengthen Your Ankle After a Sprain
- 32 Isometric Exercises
- 33 Isotonic Exercises
- 34 Exercises for Balance, Coordination, and Agility
- 35 5 Stage Rehab Program Following an Ankle Sprain
- 36 The Functional Rehab Protocol
- 37 Level 1:Non-Weight Bearing Range of Motion
- 38 Level 2: Weight Bearing Range of Motion
- 39 Level 3:Barefoot Proprioception
- 40 Level 4: Strength Training
- 41 Level 5: Return to Running
What is the fastest way to heal a sprained ankle?
- Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort.
- Ice. Use an ice pack or ice slush bath immediately for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every two to three hours while you’re awake.
- Compression. To help stop swelling, compress the ankle with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops.
How long should you stay off a sprained ankle?
Depending on the severity of the injury, she advises patients to avoid any impact on the injured ankle, including running and other athletic pursuits, for four-to-six weeks before gradually working up to previous levels.
How long should you rest a badly sprained ankle?
How long it takes for a sprain or strain to heal. After 2 weeks, most sprains and strains will feel better. Avoid strenuous exercise such as running for up to 8 weeks, as there’s a risk of further damage. Severe sprains and strains can take months to get back to normal.
Is it OK to walk on a sprained ankle?
Do not walk on a sprained ankle. The inflamed tissue needs time to heal, and walking on it too soon may cause more damage. Ankle sprains are common musculoskeletal injuries that can occur from playing sports or from everyday activities.
Can a sprained ankle heal in 2 days?
After 2 to 3 days protocol, a mild sprain will be mostly healed and ready for you to resume normal activity. A moderate or severe sprain may require you to keep up these treatment steps for longer—up to several weeks.
Should I wrap a sprained ankle at night?
Compression — Wrapping a stretchable elastic bandage around your foot and ankle can help minimize swelling after injury. If you’re going to wrap your ankle, it is best to put the bandage on first thing in the morning, and then take it off at bedtime.
Should a sprained ankle still be swollen after a week?
This level of sprain shouldn’t result in any instability or muscle weakness but can cause minor swelling. Grade 1 sprained ankle recovery time is anywhere from 2 weeks to a month, normally closer to the two-week mark with proper treatment.
What is the difference between a rolled ankle and a sprained ankle?
When you roll your ankle you stretch or tear one or more of the ligaments around your ankle. Ankle sprains range from mild to extreme severity. Sometimes you might simply lose your balance, lightly roll your ankle and only experience minimal pain that subsides quickly.
Should you exercise a sprained ankle?
For minor or moderate sprains, most people can start exercising their sprained ankle after a few days of rest. Simple motion exercises and strength training are essential to help the ankle heal properly.
What happens if a sprain is left untreated?
If they’re left untreated, sprains will often cause the ankle to become unstable, which can lead to chronic pain, swelling, instability and, ultimately, arthritis. Don’t delay treatment. Sprains should be immobilized quickly, with the ankle ligaments in a stable position.
What helps ligaments heal faster?
Balance, control, and strengthening exercises can also help your ligaments heal more quickly than they otherwise would.
What exercises can I do with a sprained ankle?
Try the following simple range-of-motion exercises:
- Trace the alphabet with your toe, which encourages ankle movement in all directions. Trace the alphabet 1 to 3 times.
- Sit in a chair with your foot flat on the floor. Slowly move your knee side to side while keeping your foot pressed flat. Continue for 2 to 3 minutes.
How do you tell if a sprained ankle is healing?
To determine whether your ankle has healed enough for you to return to athletic activities, your physical therapist or doctor will evaluate your walking and weight bearing ability. They may also ask you to hop on that foot. You may need an X-ray or other diagnostic imagery to determine whether healing is complete.
Should a sprained ankle still hurt after 3 weeks?
“An ankle sprain that lingers beyond 3 months is often an injury to a bone, tendon or ligament that is unlikely to heal without intervention,” he says. “And the longer an ankle injury persists without proper treatment, the greater the likelihood that permanent disability will result.”
How can you tell if you tore a ligament in your ankle?
If you have torn your ankle ligament, symptoms include:
- Swelling around your ankle joint.
- A feeling of instability.
- Bruising – sometimes up your lower leg and into your foot.
- Tenderness to touch.
- Pain when putting weight on your ankle.
- Popping sound at the time of injury.
Sprained Ankle: Rehabilitation Exercises
Ankle sprains are a common injury that might result in long-term complications for the injured party. Some patients who suffer from recurrent or severe sprains may get long-term joint discomfort and weakness as a result. Treatment of a sprained ankle can assist to avoid the occurrence of future ankle disorders. Exercises for rehabilitation (rehab) are essential for ensuring that the ankle recovers fully and that a recurrence of the injury does not occur.
- If you are able to do so without experiencing too much discomfort, you can begin healing by walking or carrying some weight, if necessary, while using crutches if necessary. During the first 72 hours following your accident, begin rehabilitation with range-of-motion activities. Continue with additional rehabilitation, which may include stretching, strength training, and balancing exercises, over the following few weeks to months. You may strengthen your ankle by performing rehabilitation activities at home or even at the office.
How to do rehabilitation exercises for an ankle sprain
Start each exercise carefully and pay attention to how much discomfort you are experiencing while performing these exercises. If you are experiencing more than minor discomfort, you should stop exercising. Some examples of standard rehabilitation (rehab) activities are provided in the following section. Keep in mind that the timing and type of rehab exercises that your doctor or physical therapist recommends for you may differ depending on their preferences.
Range-of-motion exercises should be started as soon as possible following your injury. Try performing these exercises and then applying ice to your ankle as often as possible, up to 5 times a day. These are simple tasks that you can complete while sitting at your desk or watching television. Try some of the simple range-of-motion exercises listed below:
- Use your toe to trace the letters of the alphabet, which will increase ankle mobility in all directions. Trace the letters of the alphabet one to three times on the floor while sitting in a chair with your foot flat on the floor. Slowly move your knee from side to side while maintaining your foot firmly planted on the ground. Continue for another 2 to 3 minutes
- Then stop.
Towel curls are a type of curling technique. While seated, lay your foot on a towel on the floor and compress the towel toward you with your toes while still in your chair. Also with the help of your toes, push the towel away from your body. Make this workout more difficult by attaching a weighted object to the other end of the towel, such as a soup can, to make it more difficult.
As soon as you are able to do so without experiencing discomfort, begin stretching exercises for your Achilles tendon. This tendon connects the rear of the lower leg’s calf muscles to the heel bone at the base of the foot, and it is responsible for walking. You can attempt the towel stretch if you need to sit down or the calf stretch if you are able to stand on your own.
- Towel elongation. Place your leg straight in front of you while sitting. Using both hands, hold a rolled towel beneath the ball of your foot, with the towel held at both ends. Pulling the cloth toward you should be done gently while maintaining your knee straight. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat 2 to 4 times more to get the desired effect. When you have a moderate to severe ankle sprain, it may be too painful to draw your toes all the way together to feel a stretch in your calf at first. Precaution should be exercised, and discomfort should serve as a guide. Stretching the calf muscles. Stand with your back to a wall and your hands on the wall at around eye level. Placing the leg you wish to extend roughly a step behind the opposite leg is recommended. Continue to bend your front knee while keeping your back heel firmly planted on the floor until you feel a stretch in your back leg. Stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on how tight the stretch is. Repeat the process 2 to 4 times. Repeat the exercise with your back knee slightly bent, while maintaining your back heel firmly planted on the floor. This will stretch a different section of the calf muscles than the last stretch.
Consult with your doctor or physical therapist about the best time to perform ankle strengthening exercises. The majority of the time, you can begin them when you are able to stand without experiencing increasing discomfort or swelling. Depending on the degree of your injury, perform 8 to 12 repetitions of these exercises once or twice daily for 2 to 4 weeks, once or twice a day for 2 to 4 weeks.
- Lie down on the floor with your foot flat on the floor and push it outward against an immovable object such as a wall or heavy furniture to get the ball rolling. Hold for approximately 6 seconds before relaxing. After you’ve gotten used to this, you may experiment with rubber tubing wrapped around the outside of your feet to provide resistance. While still seated, place your feet together flat on the floor and push your foot out to the side against the tube. Count to ten as you gently return your foot back to the centre. Press the affected foot inward on the other foot to relieve the pain. Hold for approximately 6 seconds before relaxing
- After that, place the heel of your other foot on top of the wounded one to stabilize it. While attempting to push up with your wounded foot, press down with your upper heel to keep your balance. Hold for approximately 6 seconds before relaxing
Balance and control exercises
Lie down on the floor with your foot flat on the floor and press it outward against an immovable object such as a wall or heavy furniture to get the movement started. Hold for approximately 6 seconds before releasing. After you’ve become used to it, you may experiment with rubber tubing wrapped around the outside of your feet to provide resistance. While still seated, place your feet together flat on the floor and push your foot out to the side against the tube. Count to ten as you gently return your foot back to the centre; Firmly press one of your wounded feet against the other foot to relieve pressure.
While attempting to push up with your wounded foot, press down with your upper heel. For approximately 6 seconds, hold the position, then release;
- Holding your arms out to your sides with your eyes wide, stand on only your wounded foot while keeping your other feet still. If you are feeling unstable, consider standing in a doorway so that you may rest your hands on the door frame to support your weight. Maintain your balance for as long as you can, building up to a total of 60 seconds. Exercise number 2: Stand on your injured foot solely and cross your arms over your chest while keeping your eyes open. Once you have completed this for 60 seconds, attempt exercise number 3. Exersize number 3: Stand exclusively on your injured foot and close your eyes while holding your arms out to the sides. When you can maintain this position for 60 seconds or more, do exercise number 4. If you are feeling unstable, consider standing in a doorway so that you may rest your hands on the door frame to support your weight. When you are able to maintain this position for 60 seconds, move on to exercise number 4: Stand on your afflicted foot only, cross your arms over your chest, and close your eyes for 60 seconds. Maintain your balance for as long as possible, progressing up to 60 seconds
The practice of stretching exercises should be maintained on a regular basis, with emphasis on stretching exercises before and after physical activity to assist avoid reinjury. If your ankle feels better after a few days, stay up with strengthening activities, as well as balance and control exercises, many times a week to maintain your ankles in good shape.
As of November 16, 2020, the information is current. Written by a member of the Healthwise staffMedical review by Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine Dr. Kathleen Romito is a Family Medicine specialist. Dr. William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine – Emergency Medicine On the date of its publication: November 16, 2020 Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney, MD – Family MedicineAuthor: Healthwise Staff Dr. Kathleen Romito is a Family Medicine specialist. Dr. William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine – Emergency Medicine
15 Exercises for Your Sprained Ankle
If the ankle damage is not too serious, most patients can begin ankle rehabilitation activities within three days of suffering the injury. However, there is no defined schedule. Pay attention to your own body and follow your doctor’s recommendations. The first few days will be spent resting and applying an ice pack to your damaged ankle for 10 to 15 minutes every few hours for the first few days. Don’t allow the ice come into contact with your skin, and don’t keep it on for too long or you’ll be burned.
Following that, you may gradually increase the amount of time you spend on your ankle and begin a regimen of at-home exercises or physical therapy sessions.
A research conducted in 2007 on 102 patients who had sprained ankles found that, after one year, there was no significant difference in healing between a supervised exercise program and normal therapy with unsupervised home exercises.
These exercises are basic motions that you may perform up to 5 times per day to help you maintain your ankle’s range of motion and flexibility, which will benefit you in the long run.
1. Ankle alphabet
Place yourself on a couch or a comfy chair. Extend your leg out in front of you and use your big toe to draw the letters of the alphabet in the air. If there is no discomfort, you can repeat this procedure 2 or 3 more times. This easy exercise will assist you in moving your ankle in all directions.
2. Knee motion
Place your foot flat on the floor and sit on a chair. Keep your foot on the floor and slowly move your knee from side to side for 2 to 3 minutes while keeping your foot on the floor. Performing this exercise helps to stretch and relax the ligaments in the area surrounding your ankle.
3. Towel and tissue scrunches
While sitting on a hard chair, place a little towel on the floor in front of you to absorb any sweat. After taking your shoes and socks off, carefully take the towel with your toes and scrunch it up, counting to five as you do so. Then remove the towel and repeat the process. Repeat this 8 to 10 times—or fewer if you are experiencing discomfort.
You may also use a tissue to experiment with this. When you walk, the Achilles tendon connects the muscles in your calf to the heel bone, passing behind your ankle. Exercises to stretch your Achilles tendon should be done as soon as you are able after that.
4. Towel stretch
As you sit, stretch your leg out in front of you and place it on the floor. Wrap a towel or a strap around the ball of your foot to keep it in place. Pulling back on the towel will cause your toes to migrate closer to you. Stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on how tight the stretch is. Don’t go overboard with that. If you feel a slight to moderate stretch in your calf muscle, you’ve done it right.
5. Standing calf stretch
Standing facing a wall or in front of a countertop, place your hands on the surface to provide stability. Placing your injured ankle about one step back and your good foot forward will help to reduce swelling. Slowly bend the knee of your healthy leg, keeping your back heel level on the floor, until you feel a moderate stretch in the calf on your damaged side. Hold for 30 seconds each time you do this three times.
6. Heel raise
Stand with your hands in front of you, resting them on a wall, countertop, or the back of a chair to provide support and stability. Slowly raise up on your toes and lower yourself back down, keeping your feet shoulder width apart. Start with roughly ten of them and work your way up to twenty or more. Keep in mind that you just want a mild stretch and not any discomfort. When they become second nature, you can go to solely using the toes on the damaged side of your body.
7. One-leg balance
Lift your healthy leg behind you, holding it up with your hands on a wall, countertop, or chair back, so that your weight is supported by the leg with the damaged ankle and not the other. Try to maintain this position for 20 to 30 seconds. As your strength increases, you might attempt performing it with only one or two fingers for support. When you’re feeling more confident, go ahead and do it without hanging on. Once you’ve regained full range of motion and are able to bear weight on your sprained ankle without discomfort, it’s time to go on to the next step: strengthening exercises.
This is a straightforward elastic band that you can obtain from a sports goods shop, online, or from the office of a physical therapist.
8. Elastic band push
With resistance, you may perform a variant of the towel stretch. Take a seat on the floor. To keep your heel off the floor, use a rolled-up towel or a swimming noodle to prop up your ankle. Place the elastic band around the ball of your foot and secure the two ends together. (Optional) Slowly move your ankle forward so that it seems like you’re pointing your toe. Then slowly pull it back to its original position. This should be done a total of ten times. If you have any discomfort or if your ankle feels unsteady, you should avoid using the band.
9. Elastic band pull
With resistance, you may perform a variant on the towel stretch. Accept the invitation to sit on the ground. A rolled-up towel or swimming noodle can be used to elevate your ankle and keep your heel off the ground. Place the elastic band around the ball of your foot and hold the two ends together. (See illustration.) Slowly move your ankle forward so that it seems like you’re pointing your toe at the camera.
then slowly return it back to its original position Make a total of ten repetitions of this sentence. If you have any discomfort or if your ankle feels unsteady, you should avoid using the elastic band.
10. Ankle out
Tie your resistance band around a hefty item to make it more effective. Take a seat or stand and hook the inside of your foot into the band at the other end of your leg. Slowly shift your foot from the inside to the outside and back again. Start with 10 repetitions and work your way up to 20 repetitions. The same technique works when sitting down with your ankle supported up on a rolled towel or an uncooked egg noodles. Hook one end of the resistance band around your foot and tie the other end into a loop.
Your good foot serves as a pivot in this situation.
Start with 10 repetitions and work your way up to 20 repetitions.
11. Ankle in
Hook the inside of your foot into the resistance band when it’s secured around a heavy object to keep it from moving. Gently push your foot inward against the resistance band and then slowly bring it back out again. Repeat 10 times, then gradually increase the number of repetitions to 20. Regaining control of your muscles is an important aspect of the rehabilitation process. Nerve fibers are destroyed when you have a sprain. As you restore strength, your brain must relearn where it is in relation to your ankle and how exactly it should be moved.
12. Basic balance
Try to keep your balance while standing on your injured foot and lifting the other foot off the floor behind you. If you are feeling shaky, lean against a counter or the back of a chair for support. At start, try to keep your breath for a few seconds. Then, if you’re able, work your way up to 30 seconds and 1 minute.
13. Balance with eyes closed
Now, close your eyes and practice the fundamental balance exercise a second time. This is far more difficult because there are no visible points of reference to assist you in maintaining your equilibrium. Make sure you have something to lean on for support. Once again, attempt to push yourself to 30 seconds and 1 minute, if at all possible.
14. Pillow balance
While standing on a cushion, perform the same fundamental balancing exercise as you would normally. This is far more difficult. Even if your ankle is not injured, your foot will wobble a lot and you will have to restore your balance on a regular basis. Try to cut your time down to 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you begin to experience discomfort in your ankle, stop immediately.
15. Pillow balance with eyes closed
This is the workout that is the most difficult. Test your ability to maintain your balance while standing on a cushion with your eyes closed. Make sure you have something to fall back on in case of need. If you are able, try to complete the task in 30 seconds to 1 minute. But don’t be disheartened if you are unable to accomplish so. You are retraining and enhancing the impulses that travel between your ankle and your brain while performing these exercises. Depending on the kind and severity of your sprain, your doctor will prescribe a specific form of ankle brace for you.
Hard castings were frequently employed in the past. However, research has shown that in many situations, these have hindered the recuperation process. Braces are now being used. The three different forms of ankle braces are as follows:
- Ankle braces with lace-ups, stirrup ankle braces, and elastic ankle braces are all options.
You might also use an elastic bandage and learn how to apply compression wrapping to your wounded ankle to help it heal more quickly. Each of them contributes to your overall stability as your sprain heals. It may also be possible to minimize edema in the early stages of the condition, depending on the brace design. If you have a serious sprain, your doctor may recommend that you wear a brief leg cast for two to three weeks to protect your leg. If you suffer from recurrent ankle sprains, ankle stabilization surgery may be a possibility, particularly if conservative measures such as braces and exercises have failed to provide relief.
- Ankle sprains are a regular occurrence.
- Sometimes you won’t realize you’ve sprained your ankle until a few hours later, when you notice swelling or bruising, as well as increasing discomfort in the area.
- Your doctor will identify the most appropriate brace for you to wear and will recommend an exercise regimen tailored to your unique requirements.
- The length of time it takes to recover depends on the severity of the sprain, your age, and your overall physical condition.
How to Self-Care Rehab a Sprained Ankle
It is common to wonder whether you have suffered an ankle sprain or twist, particularly if there was significant force trauma involved, and experience severe acute pain and swelling. You may have suffered a bad ankle sprain or a bad ankle sprain and bone fracture, depending on the severity of the sprain or twist. In addition to your sprained ankle, you may have also incurred a bone fracture, as indicated by the following signs and symptoms:
- Tenderness may be pinpointed. If you palpate the tips and distal shafts of the tibia and fibula bones of the ankle and the victim complains of significant pain at a specific spot on the bone, you may be dealing with a fracture of the ankle bone. It is possible to have substantial pain in the area where the ligament was strained or ripped after the accident since the ligament was attached to these bone landmarks (medial and lateral malleoli). In order to determine if the pain is in the bone or soft tissue, you will need to do several tests. Numbness and tingling sensations are experienced. If you suffer from a severe ankle sprain, the pain is excruciating, but if you also have tingling and numbness in the ankle, this might indicate a probable fracture.
- Ankle stability has been compromised. If you experience a significant lack of ankle stability, this might signal that one ankle bone or a number of ankle bones have been shattered. Having the sense of hearing a “crack” noise. The popping sound that is associated with a severe ankle sprain is different from the “cracking” sound that is associated with a fracture. There is an obvious malformation. In sports medicine, there is a saying that you cannot proclaim a sprained ankle to have also experienced a bone fracture unless there is a visible deformity. A dislocated ankle, even if it does not have a bone fracture, might appear to be highly dangerous.
If you have any doubts about whether or not you may have broken your bone(s) as a result of your severe ankle sprain, you should consult your doctor, who may order an x-ray to determine whether or not you have a break.
Ankle Sprains – Inversion Mechanism of Injury
“Inversion sprains,” in which the foot twists inward, result in injury to the lateral ankle stabilizing ligaments (the ligaments that hold the foot in place on the outside of the foot). Those ligaments are as follows:
- Anterior Talofibular Ligament, Calcaneofibular Ligament, and Posterior Talofibular Ligament are all terms used to refer to the same thing.
Despite the fact that inversion sprains are most frequent in sports that require jumping or landing such as basketball and volleyball, they can occur in virtually any activity, including merely walking or stepping on an uneven surface that tips the sole of the foot inward. The vast majority of individuals I know have suffered from at least one ankle sprain at some point in their lives, whether it was a slight or more serious sprain. NEISS data for ankle sprain injuries presenting to emergency departments (Epidemiology of Ankle Sprains in the United.3.aspx) reveals that the highest incidence of ankle sprain occurs between the ages of 15 and 19 years old.
The majority of ankle sprains occur during physical activity, with basketball having the greatest incidence rate (41.1 percent), football having a 9.3 percent incidence rate, and soccer having a 7.9 percent incidence rate.
How are Inversion Ankle Sprains Graded or Categorized
According to the severity of injury to the ankle stabilizing ligaments, the quantity of edema present, the degree of ensuing instability, and the extent to which functional loss has occurred in the ankle joint, ankle sprains are evaluated. 1st grade
- The amount of inversion that may be achieved via the sprain mechanism is restricted. A straining of the ligaments results in tiny tears. There is little, if any, edema apparent
- There is no ankle instability. There is no reduction in ankle functioning.
- The degree of inversion allowed by the sprain mechanism is restricted. A straining of the ligaments results in tiny tears of the tissue. Swelling is little, if at all
- And There is no instability in the ankle. Ankle functioning is not impaired
- Inversion sprain with a significant mechanism
- The majority of ligaments, if not all, have been ruptured. Swelling that is severe happens quickly after an injury. Joint instability ranging from moderate to severe
- If you try to bear weight, you will experience significant discomfort and loss of functioning. Ecchymosis is a darkening of the skin caused by broken capillaries and bleeding
- Ecchymosis is a condition in which the skin becomes discolored.
Steps in the Rehabilitation Process of a Sprained Ankle
Any type of ankle sprain should be treated right away (RICE)
- Rest: Refrain from engaging in activities that might worsen the injury and create further pain and edema. Several soft tissues, including the ligaments that stabilize your ankle, have been injured, and you should begin the healing process immediately without further harm, which would just postpone the healing process
- ICE: Ice should be applied in the form of an ice slurry. Fill a pail halfway with ice, then fill it halfway with cold water and submerge your foot. It’s true that the first minute or two might be a little uncomfortable, but an ice slurry allows the user to gently move their ankle through some range of motion in the sagittal plane, including plantar flexion and dorsiflexion. Icing for roughly 20 minutes is recommended. Icing can assist to decrease swelling, discomfort, and muscle spasms in the affected area. It is recommended that you ice your skin 2-3 times during the day. Compression. After ice has been completed, wrap the ankle with a compression wrap (Ace bandage) to assist decrease swelling and offer support. The wrap should be placed with just enough tension to create compression, but not so tight that it adversely restricts circulation, as described above. As much as possible, keep the wrap on, but make sure it does not interfere with circulation to the foot. Elevation. Whenever feasible, position yourself in such a way that you may elevate your foot, allowing gravity to assist in controlling swelling near the ankle.
Reminder: Maintain the use of ice, compression and elevation over the following 24 to 72 hours, depending on your conditions.
Daily Rehabilitation Regimen with Progression as Improvements are Made
As is true with any injury that causes pain, swelling, and restricted mobility, certain anatomical and physiological changes occur that, if not treated appropriately in a progressive rehabilitation program, can significantly impede the healing process and result in certain long-term deficiencies. To be more specific, 1) the ankle loses range of motion quickly (especially dorsiflexion range of motion as the calf muscles become tight), 2) a loss of proprioceptive sensitivity in the muscle spindles of the muscles that support and provide reflex contraction protection to the ankle and subtalar joint of the foot, and3) a loss of muscular strength in all of the muscles that stabilize and support the ankle and subtalar joint.
When each of these factors is not addressed during therapy, the risk of ankle sprain recurrence, compensatory damage to other joints, and impaired sports performance increases.
Consequently, the timing of the commencement of treatment protocols as well as the advancement of such protocols will fluctuate depending on the patient’s situation.
- Grade 1: Because there is little ligament damage, joint instability, or swelling, rehabilitation can begin as soon as the pain is controlled, and the individual can usually return to normal activities in less than a week. Grade 2: Because there is little ligament damage, joint instability, or swelling, rehabilitation can begin as soon as the pain is controlled. Grade 2: Because of partial ligament tearing, some joint instability, and moderate to severe swelling, the joint should be immobilized for several days, delaying the initiation of some rehabilitation protocols. Grade 3: Because of partial ligament tearing, some joint instability, and moderate to severe swelling, the joint should be immobilized for several days, delaying the initiation of some rehabilitation protocols. Grade 3: Because the ligaments have been ruptured, resulting in severe instability of the ankle joint, and because the pain and swelling have persisted for an extended period of time, the initiation of rehab protocols must be postponed because weight bearing may not be possible for two or more weeks.
In order to direct your recovery even further, use the philosophy “let pain be your guide.” If the rehabilitation plan you are following causes discomfort, reduce the intensity of the procedure to avoid reinjuring the healing tissue. In addition, if swelling reappears throughout your recovery, you will need to reduce the intensity of your activities accordingly. Observe: = forward movement to
Initial/Non-Weight Bearing Rehabilitation→→→
- Passive Range of Motion (PROM) to Active Range of Motion (AROM): From passive to active range of motion. Maintain or restore proper dorsiflexion and plantar flexion ranges of motion by performing range-of-motion exercises in the sagittal plane of motion. In order to increase the strength of the evertor muscles (Fibularis Longus and Fibularis Brevis), you should do isometric muscular contractions of these muscles. The stationary bike helps to increase dorsiflexion and plantar flexion range of motion while also offering a cardio-respiratory exercise to assist maintain fitness when away from sports or activities. Use a wobble board to conduct range of motion exercises in both the sagittal and frontal planes of motion while sitting or in a partially weight bearing position.
→→→ Progression of Rehab /Weight Bearing
- Walking: Make an effort to maintain a regular walking pattern. Beginning with towel stretches and moving to standing/weight bearing calf muscle stretching are some of the techniques used to stretch these muscles. Progression of Resistance Exercises: Perform resistance exercises of the ankle plantar flexors and dorsiflexors, then invertors and evertors, to gradually increase strength in the ankle joint. The incorporation of balance training is part of proprioceptive training. Progression=: *Double leg stance -> single leg stance *Firm surface -> foam pad -> BOSU *Eyes open -> eyes closed *Incorporating different perturbations
- Returning to Sport Activities: jogging, sprinting, leaping, figure 8’s, and other movements that increase in speed, angle, and force
ConclusionThe evidence indicates that having previously had an ankle sprain is the most significant risk factor for sustaining another ankle sprain, and it is anticipated that 30 percent of those who have sustained a grade 2 or 3 ankle sprain will acquire chronic ankle instability. If your ligaments have healed, you have restored full ankle joint range of motion, all of the muscles that cross and operate on the ankle have regained their full strength, and your proprioceptive sensitivity has returned to normal, your ankle rehabilitation program is not considered complete.
In her full-time academic position at Brigham Young University in Idaho, Lynn Perkes teaches courses in kinesiology and biomechanics, as well as courses in Applied Kinesiology and Assessment, Therapeutic Exercise, and other Physical Therapist Assistant courses.
In his spare time, he writes for ProhealthcareProducts.com, a company that provides healthcare and medical equipment and supplies, as well as therapy and fitness products and personal protection equipment and supplies.
Recovering from an ankle sprain
All it takes is a simple slip to end up with a sprained ankle, which may be very painful. An ankle sprain is one of the most frequent musculoskeletal ailments that can occur in people of all ages, including athletes and couch potatoes. Ankle ligament damage occurs when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle are strained or torn, resulting in discomfort, edema, and the inability to walk properly. People who sustain ankle injuries sometimes try to fight it out without seeking medical assistance.
A severely damaged ankle may not heal properly and may lose its range of motion and stability if not treated and rehabilitated properly, leading in recurrent sprains and further downtime in the future.
Anatomy of an ankle sprain
An inversion injury, also known as a lateral ankle sprain, is the most frequent kind of ankle sprain. At this position, the foot rolls inward, causing damage to three ligaments in the outside of the ankle: the anterior talofibular ligament, the calcaneofibular ligament, and the posterior talofibular ligament. (See image for a description of ligaments, which are bands of fibrous tissue that bind bone to bone.)
Lower on the spectrum are medial ankle sprains, which are ligament injuries that affect the inner ankle ligaments, and syndesmotic sprains, which are ligament injuries that affect the tibiofibular ligaments, which connect the two leg bones (the tibia and fibula) directly above the ankle joint. Syndesmotic sprains, which occur most frequently in contact sports, are particularly prone to causing persistent ankle instability and a repeat sprain because of the way they are repaired. The severity of an ankle sprain is determined by the amount of damage it causes and the degree to which the joint becomes unstable as a result.
Grades of ankle sprain severity
|Severity||Damage to ligaments||Symptoms||Recovery time|
|Grade 1||Minimal stretching, no tearing||Mild pain, swelling, and tenderness. Usually no bruising. No joint instability. No difficulty bearing weight.||1–3 weeks|
|Grade 2||Partial tear||Moderate pain, swelling, and tenderness. Possible bruising. Mild to moderate joint instability. Some loss of range of motion and function. Pain with weight bearing and walking.||3–6 weeks|
|Grade 3||Full tear or rupture||Severe pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising. Considerable instability, loss of function and range of motion. Unable to bear weight or walk.||Up to several months|
How to treat a sprained ankle
One of the initial objectives is to reduce pain and swelling while also protecting the ligaments from additional damage. This often entails following the RICE protocol, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If you are experiencing extreme pain and swelling, you should try to keep your ankle as still as possible for the first 24–48 hours. Use an ice pack or soak your foot and ankle in cold water for 15–20 minutes three times a day, or as needed, to reduce swelling. Compress the ankle with an elasticized wrap, such as an ACE bandage or an elastic ankle sleeve, to help minimize swelling and pain.
If possible, avoid anything that might cause edema to worsen in the first 24 hours, such as hot showers, hot packs, or heat rubs.
When to see your doctor
Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms are severe or do not improve within a few days of the accident. You should visit your doctor right away if your pain and swelling are extreme, or if your ankle feels numb or won’t support your weight when you stand. A sprain or a fracture will be examined and perhaps treated in a variety of methods to assess the kind of sprain and the extent of the damage. This inspection may be postponed for a few days until the swelling and pain subside; in the meantime, continue with the RICE regimen as directed by your doctor.
Ligament disorders are the most common cause of ankle discomfort, yet ligaments are not seen on routine x-rays of the ankle.
The rules identify areas of the foot where pain, tenderness, and inability to bear weight suggest a fracture. The Ottawa criteria correctly diagnosed patients with ankle fractures in more than 95 percent of cases, according to an analysis of research involving more than 15,000 patients.
How to strengthen your ankle after a sprain
In order to properly heal from an ankle sprain, you’ll need to restore the usual range of motion to your ankle joint as well as strengthen the ligaments and supportive muscles surrounding your ankle joint. It has been demonstrated in studies that patients return to their regular activities more quickly when their treatment focuses regaining ankle function — which is commonly accomplished with the help of splints, braces, tape, or elastic bandages — rather than immobilization of the ankle (such as use of a plaster cast).
Exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility should be started within 48 hours after sustaining a sprain and should be continued until you are pain-free to the same degree as you were before the injury.
As your injured ankle heals, you can graduate to standing activities to help strengthen it.
Exercises to help restore function and prevent injury
|Flexes.Rest the heel of the injured foot on the floor. Pull your toes and foot toward your body as far as possible. Release. Then point them away from the body as far as possible. Release. Repeat as often as possible in the first week.|
|Ankle alphabet.With the heel on the floor, write all the capital letters of the alphabet with your big toe, making the letters as large as you can.|
|Press down, pull back.Loop an elasticized band or tubing around the foot, holding it gently taut (A). Press your toes away and down. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat 30 times. Tie one end of the band to a table or chair leg (B). Loop the other end around your foot. Slowly pull the foot toward you. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat 30 times.|
|Ankle eversion.Seated on the floor, with an elasticized band or tubing tied around the injured foot and anchored around your uninjured foot, slowly turn the injured foot outward. Repeat 30 times.|
|Ankle inversion.Seated on the floor, cross your legs with your injured foot underneath. With an elasticized band or tubing around the injured foot and anchored around your uninjured foot, slowly turn the injured foot inward. Repeat 30 times.|
|Stretching and strengthening: Weeks 3–4|
|Standing stretch.Stand one arm’s length from the wall. Place the injured foot behind the other foot, toes facing forward. Keep your heels down and the back knee straight. Slowly bend the front knee until you feel the calf stretch in the back leg. Hold for 15–20 seconds. Repeat 3–5 times.|
|Seated stretch.Loop an elasticized band or tubing around the ball of the foot. Keeping the knee straight, slowly pull back on the band until you feel the upper calf stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 15–20 times.|
|Rises.Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall for balance. Rise up on your toes. Hold for 1 second, then lower yourself slowly to the starting position. Repeat 20–30 times. As you become stronger, do this exercise keeping your weight on just the injured side as you lower yourself down.|
|Stretches.Stand with your toes and the ball of the affected foot on a book or the edge of a stair. Your heel should be off the ground. Use a wall, chair, or rail for balance. Hold your other foot off the ground behind you, with knee slightly bent. Slowly lower the heel. Hold the position for 1 second. Return to the starting position. Repeat up to 15 times, several times a day. This exercise can place a lot of stress on the ankle, so get your clinician’s go-ahead before trying it.|
For the benefit of our readers, Harvard Health Publishing makes our archival content available to them via a secure website. Please include a note of the date of the most recent review or update for each article. No information on this site, regardless of when it was published, should ever be considered as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained healthcare professional.
Ankle Sprain Exercises
Despite the fact that ankle sprains can be very painful, it is critical that you attempt to restore movement in your ankle as soon as possible following the injury. It is critical to have adequate physiotherapy supervision when practicing these exercises to ensure that they are safe.
- Days immediately following the injury: In the beginning, stretches may be performed, and when they have become comfortable and easier to complete in terms of discomfort and swelling, you can go to range-of-motion exercises. Days to weeks after an injury, with swelling diminishing or disappearing: Exercises for range of motion should be done. When you are able to carry your own weight comfortably: Exercises that improve balance and strength
1. Use a band or cloth to stretch
- Relax on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you. To stretch the back of your calf, wrap a towel, rope, or band around the ball of your foot and pull the towel tight. Hold for a total of 30 seconds. Repeat the process three times.
- Put your hands against the wall at around eye level if you are facing a wall. Maintain a neutral position with your hurting foot in the rear and your good foot front, with the heel of your injured foot firmly planted on the floor. In order to feel a stretch in the back of your calf, turn your injured foot slightly inside (as if you were pigeon-toed) and slowly lean against the wall.
- Stand with your back to the wall and your hands on the wall
- Maintain a little bend in your knees and the painful foot pushed back
- Allowing your knees to gently lean in towards the wall can help to stretch the back of your calves. Keep your heel firmly planted on the ground. For 30 seconds, hold the position, and then repeat three times.
Range of Motion Exercises
4-6 The Letters of the Alphabet
- This exercise may be performed either sitting or lying down. Imagine you are using your foot to write each letter of the alphabet in the correct order. This will cause your ankle to move in all directions in the manner depicted. Repeat this process two or three times.
7 Dorsiflexion that was resisted
- Place your wounded foot under your healthy foot to protect it from further injury. Placing the heel of your healthy foot on top of the toes of your damaged foot will help to relieve the pain. Gently draw your toes and ankle towards your face on the damaged ankle, and the healthy foot can give resistance on top of the affected ankle as well. Hold for a total of 5 seconds. 10 times is a good rule of thumb. Perform three sets of ten exercises.
- Placing your injured foot on top of your healthy foot will help to reduce swelling. Your good foot can give resistance to the movement if you press your good foot onto the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat the process 10 times. Perform three sets of ten exercises.
- Holding your feet together and pushing them together is a good technique. The healthy foot can act as a counterweight to the action of the afflicted foot if it is strong enough. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat the process 10 times. Perform three sets of ten exercises.
- Cross your legs over, making sure your ankles are not crossed. Then, with the outsides of your feet touching, press your feet together. Your healthy foot will act as a brake on the movement of your afflicted ankle. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat the process 10 times. Perform three sets of ten exercises.
11 Heel lifts are performed.
- Standing in front of a chair, center yourself on both feet and balance yourself. Raise yourself up onto your toes and hold for 5 seconds before lowering yourself back down. 10 times is a good rule of thumb. Do three sets of ten repetitions. This can be progressed to a single heel rise as soon as it becomes comfortable.
- Stand without any assistance and try to maintain your balance on your affected leg. Begin by performing the exercise with your eyes open, and then try to complete it with your eyes closed. Maintain the single-leg position for a total of 15 seconds. Repeat the process three times.
- Reverse the position of your heels so that your toes are lifted off the ground. Hold this posture for a total of five seconds. 10 times is a good rule of thumb. Do three sets of ten repetitions.
- For 10 minutes, jump rope while landing on both legs. Not everyone is capable of doing this, but it is worthwhile to attempt if you are confident in your abilities. If everything goes fine, try on only the damaged leg for 5 minutes at a time.
Hoping on one leg is referred to as single leg hopping.
- Raise your healthy leg off the ground a little bit. Hop up and down on your damaged leg, starting with short hops and gradually increasing the height of your jumps. Make a total of ten hops. Repeat the process three times.
- This practice is essential for regaining balance and coordination in your ankle after an injury. Your physiotherapist will be able to train you on how to use them, and he or she will utilize them during your recovery. First, maintain balance on both legs, then on the affected leg. Make sure to do this for 5 minutes, three times a day. It is possible that you will need to grasp onto a chair or table for balance.
How to Strengthen Your Ankle After a Sprain
Following an ankle sprain, you should begin strengthening activities as soon as you are able to bear weight comfortably and your range of motion is close to 100%. Remember to consult with your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon before you begin any exercise program. There are many different sorts of strengthening workouts to choose from. To begin, isometricexercises, which you perform by pressing on a fixed object with your ankle, are the most straightforward. Once you’ve mastered isometric exercises, you may go on to isotonic workouts to further your fitness.
When performing isotonicexercises, you employ the range of motion of your ankle against some type of resistance. The isotonic workouts shown in the photographs below are performed using a resistance band, which you can obtain at your local physical therapist or sports goods store.
- Lie your ankle in the “down and in” position against a stationary object, such as a couch. Hold this position for a count of ten
- Then repeat the process ten times.
- Place your ankle in the “up and out” posture against the same object as you did before. Hold this position for a count of ten
- Then repeat the process ten times.
- Use a resistance band around your forefoot and gently press your ankle down as far as you can while holding the ends of the band in your palm
- Then return to the beginning position. Repeat this process ten times.
- Tie the resistance bands around a fixed object and wrap the ends around the ball of your foot to secure them. To begin, start with the ball of your foot pointing down and lift your ankle as high as you can
- Once you’ve returned to your starting position, cycle your ankle 10 times
- Make a knot with the bands around an object and tie it to the outside of your ankle. To begin, start with your foot relaxed and then slowly slide your ankle down and in
- Replace yourself in a comfortable posture and repeat 10 times.
- Make a knot with the bands around something and tie it to the outside of your ankle. To begin, start with your foot relaxed and then slowly move your ankle down and in. Replace yourself in a natural state and repeat 10 times.
Following the restoration of mobility and strength in your ankle, you will be able to participate in activities such as light running and biking. After you have determined that your ankle strength is around 80 percent of the strength of your opposite side, you may begin cutting and twisting sports.
Exercises for Balance, Coordination, and Agility
- Place a cushion under your afflicted leg and stand there. Hold this position for a count of ten
- Then repeat the process ten times.
- Place a cushion under your afflicted leg and stand up straight. Continue to hold this posture for a count of ten
- Then repeat the process ten more times
Start cautiously with these exercises and gradually increase the speed as you advance to a more demanding workout. Swing your unaffected leg behind you and then back to do a more advanced exercise. Glenn Shi, MD, completed the most recent evaluation in 2020. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) provides information on this website as a service to the medical community. FootCareMD’s material, which includes text, photos, and graphics, is provided only for informative reasons only.
If you want medical guidance, you may use the “Find a Surgeon” search to discover a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon in your local region by entering your zip code in the search box.
5 Stage Rehab Program Following an Ankle Sprain
When you join up for Outside+ today, you’ll receive a $50 discount off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you’ll discover a variety of brand-name goods handpicked by our gear editors. Runners frequently suffer from overuse injuries as a result of their repeated nature of the running stride. Acute injuries, on the other hand, might cause runners to be sidelined on occasion. A lateral ankle sprain, commonly known as an inversion sprain, is one of the most common acute injuries suffered by runners.
Injury to the spine happens when you fall on an unstable surface such as an unstable tree root or a large boulder and are compelled to aggressively invert (roll outward) beyond your normal range of motion.
Ankle sprains can be classified as Grade I, II, or III depending on their severity.
|Grades of Ankle Sprain|
|Sign/Symptom||Grade I||Grade II||Grade III|
|Loss of functional ability||Minimal||Some||Great|
|Difficulty bearing weight||None||Common||Yes|
|Ivins, D. (2006). Acute Ankle Sprain: An Update. American Family Physician, Nov 15, Vol 74,10|
Grade III sprains are the most severe and should be evaluated by a medical specialist to determine whether surgical repair is required or whether a fracture has occurred. Grade II and III sprains will benefit from physical and physiotherapy treatment to speed up the healing process. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may be effective for pain management and for speeding up the healing process after surgery. Grade I sprains usually do not necessitate any changes in activities, but you should be cautious to prevent sustaining a second ankle sprain, which might be more serious.
Reduced ideal ankle joint range of motion and impaired proprioception (balance sense) can follow, which can lead to a variety of additional overuse problems in various joints and bones throughout the body, including the foot and ankle joints.
Shin splints and knee problems might develop as a result of poor ankle mobility, which can lead to inefficiencies in the running stride.
The Functional Rehab Protocol
In the aftermath of an ankle sprain, the primary focus of treatment should be on reducing pain and swelling. Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (P.R.I.C.E.) is an acronym that stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. In order to protect the joint from additional injury, you might consider wearing an ankle brace or having the ankle taped by a medical practitioner. Rest your ankle from frequent running until you are able to bear weight without pain. It is recommended to ice the outside of the ankle on and off during the day, compress it with a wrap or sock, and to lie down and elevate your ankle so that it is above your heart whenever feasible.
Level 1:Non-Weight Bearing Range of Motion
Concentrate on non-weight bearing range of motion for the first 24-48 hours after an accident. Allow discomfort to be your guide and avoid forcing a range of motion that you do not yet have.
Exercise 1. Toe Circles
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto With your big toe, draw circles in the air to demonstrate your skill. Draw them as large as you possibly can, then attempt to keep up with them throughout the day.
Exercise 2. Inversion and Eversion
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto By moving your ankle, you can indicate the bottom of your foot as it moves toward your midline and then toward the outside of your foot. Although this action will seem stiff, it is important to prevent experiencing extreme discomfort. Please keep in mind that a mild self-massage with a foam roller, stick, or lacrosse ball on your arch and calf throughout this process may aid with muscular tightness.
Level 2: Weight Bearing Range of Motion
Within 48–72 hours of your accident, gently stretch your calves, arch, and lateral lower leg muscles to relieve pain.
Exercise 1. Upper Calf and Lower Calf Stretch on Step or Slant Board
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto Stand on the brink of a stairwell and let your heel to sink below the surface of the water. Hold the position for 30–60 seconds. Perform this exercise three times every day for three to four weeks.
Exercise 2. Foot Elevated Dorsiflexion
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto Place your foot on a kitchen chair or workout bench, and pull your hips closer to your ankle to complete the motion of walking. Make sure your knee is past your toes and use your body’s weight to push your knee past your toes to the point where your heel is just about to rise off the ground. Gently bounce your ankle joint back and forth to encourage relaxation of the ankle joint. When bouncing, make sure your knee tracks over your third, fourth, and fifth toes, respectively.
Exercise 3. Inversion Over Pressure
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto Place the outside of your foot on the floor and gently press the outside of your ankle toward the ground. Repeat on the other foot. This may cause the ligaments implicated in the sprain to stretch, so proceed with caution and avoid pushing too hard. All that has to be done now is to encourage a modest bit of movement in this direction.
Level 3:Barefoot Proprioception
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto To begin, stand barefoot on the afflicted side and slightly bend your knee to the affected side. Make a forward bow and extend your opposing leg back. Maintain the straightness of your arms out to the side as you continue to bend down until your torso is parallel to the floor. This posture is referred to as the aircraft by some, while others refer to it as a single-leg deadlift. After there, get back to your feet and move your knee closer to your body.
Maintain a straight posture with your arms out at your sides.
Pull your toes up toward your shins to complete the motion. Perform 12–15 repetitions in a row, if possible. Do this every other day for three to four weeks. Note:Make the transition from standing on a stable surface to standing on an unstable surface such as a cushion or balancing board.
Exercise 2. Single Leg Balance Eyes Closed
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto Place yourself on the afflicted side, next to a wall. Placing one finger on the wall and closing your eyes are recommended. Make an effort to keep your equilibrium while attempting to withdraw your finger off the wall. Keep your feet on the ground for as long as you can. Perform 3–5 sets every day for 3–4 weeks.
Level 4: Strength Training
Squats, bridges, and deadlifts are among the strength exercises that should be performed on a regular basis to prepare for running. When executing lunges, use caution since the amount of mobility necessary may put a strain on the injured ankle.
Exercise 1. Band Resisted Eversion
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto Wrap a bandage over the outside of your foot and secure the other end with a safety pin. Confront the band with your foot and see how far it can turn out. Do 3–4 sets of 20–30 repetitions every day for 3–4 weeks, alternating days.
Exercise 2. Band Resisted Toe Circle
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto Wrap a bandage over the outside of your foot and secure the other end with a safety pin. Using your big toe, draw circles in the air with the resistance, which challenges the outward motion of the ankle. Do 3–4 sets of 20–30 repetitions every day for 3–4 weeks, alternating days.
Exercise 3. Single Calf Raise
Photo courtesy of Jon-Erik Kawamoto Place your afflicted side on a step and lift your feet off the ground onto the balls of your feet. Reduce the height of your heel below the surface of the step. Perform 3–4 sets of 8–12 repetitions every other day for 3–4 weeks, or until you reach your goal.
Level 5: Return to Running
When resuming to running, it is important to be cautious of two things: 1) re-injury; and 2) compensatory injury elsewhere. Wearing an active ankle brace or having it taped can help prevent a sprain from occurring in the future. Even if you’re not in pain, you should avoid running for a while since it will alter your stride, which might result in a compensatory injury somewhere else in your body. Reduce your running volume and intensity until you are no longer experiencing pain. Perhaps you could incorporate cross training on an elliptical or bike, or you could try pool running as a substitute for cardio until you are fully recovered.
Prevent running on unpredictable terrain, including trail running, until you have built up sufficient muscle and proprioceptive awareness to cope with such a challenging environment.
Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CSCS, CEP, is a StrengthConditioning Coach with 15 years of expertise.
JKConditioning is a health and fitness firm in St.
He is a former competitive runner who has been a long-time contributor to PodiumRunner.