Rehabilitation Exercises for Ankle Sprain

ankle sprain
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Ankle sprain is a common injury among sportsman and average Joe alike. It occurs when your ankle is placed in an awkward or abnormal position e.g., you step on an uneven road pavement.

Sometimes your ankle is able to “re-positioned” itself within its normal range of motion before any pain or injury can happen, this is called proprioception.

It is a type of receptor which allows you to know the position and awareness of your body.

There are two types of ankle sprain; inversion (when your ankle is twisted inwards) and eversion (when your ankle is twisted outwards) sprain. Inversion sprain is much more common than eversion sprain.

ankle sprain

Ankle sprain is associated with basketball, volleyball and football.

These sports requires a lot of jumping and landing; the un-conditioned ankle is more prone to an ankle sprain.

These rehabilitation exercises for your ankle sprain is crucial to the full recovery of your ankle and preventing recurrent ankle sprain.

Without proper rehabilitation, you may develop a condition called Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI).

Sign and Symptoms

These are general sign and symptoms and it may differ due to the severity of your ankle sprain:

  • Limping.
  • May not be able to walk.
  • Tenderness on the affected ankle.
  • Reduced range of motion of the ankle joint.
  • Pain, swelling and redness at the affected ankle.

Causes of Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprain usually occurs when your ankle is twisted, rolled, or placed in an awkward position when your foot touches the ground.

This is due to the sudden and unexpected movement during physical activity or sports.

  • Improper footwear.
  • Direct blow to the ankle.
  • Walking and/or running on uneven surface.
  • Extreme twisting and cutting movements during sporting activities.
  • Landing on an uneven object/surface, e.g., Landing on someone’s foot during a basketball match.
ankle sprain basketball

Pain Management

As soon as you feel any pain at your ankle during or after your sporting activities, stop immediately and rest!

While you are resting, apply ice on your ankle for 15-20 minutes, 3 times a day.

rice for ankle sprain

Besides, you can apply bandage compression for your ankle.

This video demonstrates how to bandage your ankle for ankle sprain, make sure it isn’t too tight nor too loose:

*Press your toenail after bandaging and if it turns pink or red immediately it is okay, if it takes few seconds, it is too tight.

Rehabilitation Exercises for Ankle Sprain

The rehabilitation process starts as soon as you are injured and pain subsided.

The rehabilitation exercises for your ankle sprain starts with range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, stretching and balance.

This process usually takes few weeks to fully recover (it may differ from individuals).

Don’t do any running or jumping exercises during this period. It is crucial for you to undergo the rehabilitation process to ensure your full recovery.

Range of Motion Exercises for Ankle Sprain

Ankle Range of Motion Exercises

These exercises are to improve the range of motion of your ankle.

You may feel some discomfort or pain (make sure it is bearable) while doing these exercises. If it is too painful, stop immediately.

You can do 6-8 repetitions each direction, 2-3 sets, rest 90 seconds between sets. Do these exercises once a day, everyday.

Once you are more confident and feel better, you can progress to “ankle alphabet writing”.

You’ll need to write the alphabet from A-Z with your big toe while ONLY moving your ankle.

Ankle Alphabet Writing

Strengthening Exercises for Ankle Sprain

Ankle Strengthening Exercises

These exercises are to strengthen your ankle.

You may feel some discomfort or pain (make sure it is bearable) while doing these exercises. If it is too painful, stop immediately.

You can do 8-12 repetitions each direction, 2-3 sets, rest 90 seconds between sets. Do these exercises once a day, everyday.

Aquatic exercises are extremely useful to aid your recovery as these exercises in the water allows you to gradually apply pressure and stress to your affected ankle as the water buoyancy is carrying part of your weight.

Water Walking Exercises

This exercise is to strengthen your ankle and calves muscles.

You can do 8-12 reps, 2-4 sets, 120 seconds rest between sets, once a day, 4-5 times a week.

Gradually increase the repetitions and sets when you feel more comfortable after a few sessions.

Calf Raise

Stretching for Ankle Sprain

Gastrocnemius Stretch

You should do both of these stretches 3 repetitions on each leg, hold for 15 seconds each, 1-2 times a day, everyday.

Stretching is important to reduce muscle tightness and improve the mobility of your ankle.

Soleus Stretch

Balance Exercises for Ankle Sprain

Balance Exercises

These exercises are crucial to the full recovery of your ankle and to prevent recurrent ankle sprain or Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI).

Once your ankle is injured, your ankle proprioception of the ankle is diminished and it needs to be “re-trained”.


DISCLAIMER

All information and data on this blog site or website is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information.

I will not be liable for any injuries, damages, errors, omissions, or any losses arising from its display or use. All information is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights. Read more here.

These rehabilitation exercises for ankle sprain are NOT to be taken nor considered as a professional advise.

I am not your sport therapist nor I know about your ankle sprain (everyone’s ankle sprain is different).

You should consult your local healthcare provider or local physical therapist before beginning any exercise program.


Take Home Message

Ankle sprain is a common injury and this can be prevented with proper conditioning of the ankle, i.e., improving your ankle proprioception and neuromuscular control are able to reduce the risk of ankle injuries.

Furthermore, do incorporate plenty of balance and agility training into your training regime.

However, don’t disregard the importance of warm up and cool down after your sporting activities.

It plays a major role in preventing injuries and aiding recovery after your exercise.

Preventing ankle sprain from happening is way easier than rehabilitation.

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