Our ankles contain several ligaments that serve as connectors between different bones. If these ligaments are overstretched during awkward turns, rolls or twists of the ankle, they can tear and lead to a sprained ankle. It’s a painful condition that involves swelling, bruising and tenderness that can take anywhere between two and 12 weeks to heal, depending on the severity of the injury.
Since ligaments contain fewer blood vessels than most tissues, recovering from an ankle sprain may take longer. To move the process along, doctors will implement several ankle sprain exercises into any well-thought-out treatment plan, apart from prescribing rest and relief from swelling.
Read along to learn various ankle exercises and why they are a critical part of any successful sprained ankle treatment.
You can start practicing range-of-motion exercises right after spraining your ankle. In fact, these are some of the safest exercises to start with on your road to recovery. A great idea might be to apply ice after exercising to minimize and prevent any swelling from happening.
This first one is simple and easy on your ankle. Sit firmly on a chair and start drawing the alphabet letters with your toe while making sure you’re using your ankle joint and not your knee or hip.
Move your ankle in circles, ten times in each direction for at least 3-4 times every day.
Gently flex your ankle towards yourself without putting too much pressure on the injured area. Hold the position for a few seconds. Repeat 10-15 times twice a day.
Extensions are the opposite of flexions. Bend your foot towards the ground for the same duration and repetitions.
Turn your foot inwards and outwards and hold each position for a few seconds. Repeat 10-15 times twice a day.
Strength exercises are also crucial in accelerating sprained ankle treatment. You can start practicing the injured area once you’ve regained some of your range of motion, and you can stand without too much pain and swelling.
Sit on a chair with your feet firmly on the floor and place your sprained ankle in a “down and in” position against an immovable object such as a wall. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat up to 10 times. Then, do the same exercise with your foot in an “up and out” position.
Use a resistance band to exercise your foot. Flex, extend and bend your ankle inward and outward against the pressure of the resistance band.
Last but not least, you should start introducing balance and control exercises as soon as you can stand on your feet without feeling pain.
Stand near a chair for support if required, and stand on the sprained ankle for at least 30 seconds. Repeat a few times every day and try closing your eyes to increase difficulty.
Step up the difficulty even further and try standing on a pillow. Avoid slippery surfaces to make sure you don’t slip and fall.
Walk on your heels first, then transfer the weight on your toes and keep this up for 20 to 30 seconds. Apart from balance, this exercise will also strengthen your foot muscles.
Although you now have a good understanding of the best ankle sprain exercises, treating the injury on your own is ill-advised as you may do yourself more harm than good.
Sprained ankle treatment requires the expertise of a professional physiotherapist who can address each injury and patient’s specific needs and characteristics. Here at Emerald Hills Physio & Sports Clinic, we provide holistic treatment and full recovery guidance to get you back up on your feet in no time.
To learn more about our services, call us at (587) 855-4831 or book an appointment online.