After you’ve let your painful ankle sprain heal, you understandably want to get back on your feet as soon as possible. Bear in mind, though, that while your injury may be healed, the joint is still weak—and it will take some time before you will have your strength and full range of motion back again.
Here are a few exercises that can help strengthen your injured ankle:
- Ankle circles. Sit on a flat surface with your legs stretched out in front of you. Move your toes up and around five to ten times in a circular motion and then repeat in the opposite direction. Do this at least three times per day.
- Alphabet letters. While sitting down so that your foot is dangling, think of your big toe as a pen or pencil and try to write each letter of the alphabet while moving your ankle. Do the entire alphabet one or two times daily.
- Flexion exercises. Sit on the floor (or another flat surface) with your legs straight out in front of you. Pull your toes back toward you, keeping your knees straight, and hold for 15 seconds before returning your foot to a neutral position. Do this ten times in a row. Then do the same thing again, only for this series of ten point your toes away from you and hold for 15 seconds before returning to neutral.
- In and out. Again sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, keep your toes pointing up and, moving only at the ankle, turn your foot inward (so the sole of your foot faces your other leg) and hold for 15 seconds. Then, release and turn your foot outward as far as you comfortably can (with the toes pointing toward the ceiling), and hold for 15 seconds. Release and repeat nine more times in each direction.
- Balance exercises. Do this only when you can stand on your injured ankle without pain. Stand with your uninjured ankle next to chair that has a high back you can hold on to for support. (Or, stand in a doorway and press the palms of your hands against the doorframe to steady yourself.) Begin by standing only on your injured foot for 30 seconds, if possible. Repeat this three times a day, gradually increasing the time until you can stand this way for as long as three minutes. Eventually, you can try balancing without holding on to something for support, and then try balancing with your eyes closed.
Of course, you should never attempt strengthening exercises before your ankle is fully healed. The trusted Phoenixville podiatrists at Healthmark Foot and Ankle Associates have years of experience easing the pain of a sprained ankle, working with each patient to determine a treatment plan that works for him or her.
Call our offices today for an appointment in Media at 610-565-3668 or in Phoenixville at 610-933-8644. Or, click the link at the top of this page to receive a FREE copy of our book The Foot Is Not an Island: Recognizing Vitamin D Deficiency & How to Correct It.