Exercises for Ankle Sprain Recovery

Did you recently twist your ankle during a game of basketball? Maybe you just stepped off the sidewalk the wrong way and your ankle is now swollen and painful.

Either way, spraining your ankle is an easy thing to do but can lead to a tremendous amount of pain. The first thing you should do is schedule an X-ray with your doctor to confirm it isn’t broken or fractured. If that is the case, you may need surgery to reset the bone and then a cast to aid in healing.

However, if it’s determined that you have an ankle sprain, then the best thing to do in the immediate aftermath is to rest it. You don’t want to aggravate the area further by walking on it too much, but you also don’t want to avoid physical activity altogether. A certain amount of activity is needed to promote healing. Read on to learn about three that can help you recover from a sprained ankle, and prevent one from happening again.

Balance exercises

Once you can stand without intense pain or discomfort, you can start some light balance exercises. These exercises will help you regain your balance and strengthen your ankle. While there are a few variations, the main exercise is to stand on your injured foot while holding your arms out to your sides. 

After you can do this for at least 60 seconds without losing your balance or being in too much pain, you can try the same position but cross your arms in front of your chest. This is a bit more challenging but will help your balance even more. Once you can do this with ease, try both positions again but with your eyes closed. Doing these exercises a few times a day will help your ankle recover more quickly.

Stretch exercises

In addition to balance exercises, doing some stretching exercises can also decrease your sprained ankle recovery time. Again, these should only be done once you can do so without pain. Trying these exercises before you feel okay will only add to your discomfort, and can cause you more pain.

Once you are ready, start slowly by sitting in a chair and placing a rolled towel under the ball of your foot. Make sure to hold both ends of the towel in either hand and gently pull it towards yourself while keeping your knee straight. Try to hold this for at least 30 seconds, and repeat a few times each day.

Another stretch exercise you can do is called a calf stretch. You will need to stand facing a wall, and place both hands on the wall while putting your injured ankle a step behind your other leg. Slowly bend your front knee and hold the position for 30 seconds, and try to repeat periodically throughout the day. While you won’t be directly stretching your ankle with this exercise, you will be stretching your calf muscles which can help support your ankle.

Range of motion exercises

The final set of exercises you can perform as part of your sprained ankle treatment are called range of motion exercises. With these exercises, it’s recommended to start them as soon as possible. The earlier you start these, the quicker your recovery will be and the faster you will be able to walk again.

The first exercise is to trace the alphabet with your toe while sitting in a chair. You can do this even if you are still in pain, and then ice afterward. The goal of the exercise is to increase your flexibility and range of motion. Try to do this at least three times a day.

Another exercise that will increase your range of motion requires you to sit in a chair and keep your foot flat on the floor. Try to move your knee side-to-side while not lifting your foot from the ground. Again, do this a few times each day for a few minutes at a time.

Consult a physiotherapist

A sprained ankle can be a painful and debilitating injury, but with proper attention and light exercise, you will be back on your feet in no time. The exercises mentioned above will not only help you restore your ankle’s function but will relieve pain and strengthen the area. If you would like some additional care and instruction, then you may want to visit a physiotherapist as well.

The certified physiotherapists at Impact Physio and Sport Clinic, located in Beaumont, Alberta, Canada, are ready to meet with you and help you heal your sprained ankle. They will guide you in these exercises, in addition to other stretches and movements you can be performing daily.

Give us a call at 1-780-929-7272, or visit our website to book an appointment today.