7 Exercises For A Sprained Ankle-That You Need To Know!!

Athletes, we have at least witnessed or experienced a sprained ankle before. It’s one of the most common injuries I have seen in sports.

As an athlete that has been through and has experience helping people recover from a sprained ankle, the exercises I am about to show you can help a mild to severe sprained ankle. There is a variety of exercises out there for sprained ankles. But I will be talking about exercises I have learned over the years that helped me throughout my years that have worked.

Overview

Sprained ankles are when you roll, twist, or awkwardly turn your ankle. This can stretch or tear the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together.

When To Start Your Exercises 

It truly depends on the swelling and pain and on how you feel. Still, I believe you shouldn’t start immediately with exercises but should immediately start with ice, elevation, compression, anti-inflammatories, and rest.

The exercise categories I am about it talk to you about consists of range of motion, stretching, and strength.

Range Of Motion Exercises

The Ankle Alphabet

The ankle alphabet is the most effective range of motion exercises I have learned. By tracing the letters with your foot, it gets your ankle moving in multiple ways, not just counterclockwise and clockwise.

Here is how to do it:

Sit on a couch or comfortable chair. Extend your leg out and trace the letters of the alphabet in the air with your big toe. If there’s no pain, you can repeat this 2 or 3 times, and I would do this three times a day.

The Marbles and The Bowl 

I know the name marbles, and the bowl might be weird, but I made up the name because I forgot what it is called initially, haha. With this exercise, it helps get your muscle to contract/fire at the right time. Since your ankle is swollen and can’t move properly, your muscle reaction time for your muscles to flex is not typically where it is supposed to be.

Here is how to do it: 

Place a small towel, a large bowl, and then spread-out marbles on the floor in front of you while you sit in a chair or a couch. With your shoes and socks off, grab the marbles with your feet by scrunching them individually or in pairs and placing them in the bowl right next to you on the floor. I would do this exercise 3 times a day.

Towel and Tissue Scrunches.

The towel and tissue scrunches are an alternative version of the Marbles and the Bowl exercise because I guess not everyone has marbles just lying around in their house, haha.

Here is how to do this exercise:

Place a small towel on the floor in front of you while you sit in a hard chair. With your shoes and socks off, gently grab the towel with your toes, scrunch it up, and count to 5. Then release the towel and repeat. Do this 8 to 10 times (or less if you feel pain) 3 times a day.

Stretching

Towel Stretch/ Elastic Band Stretch

The towel stretch/elastic band stretch is an exercise that helps strengthen and support muscles after a sprained ankle. It can also help prevent the injury from developing in the future when done regularly and adequately.

Here is how to do this exercise:

Sit on the floor with your leg stretched out in front of you. Wrap a towel or strap around the ball of your foot. Pull back on the towel, so your toes move toward you. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds repeat 3 times. Don’t overdo it. You only need to feel a mild to moderate stretch on your calf muscle. I would do this three times a day.

Standing Calf Stretch

The standing calf stretch also is an exercise that helps strengthen and support muscles after a sprained ankle. Doing this consistently can prevent ankle injuries in the future.

Here is how to do this exercise:

Stand facing a wall or in front of a countertop and put your hands on it for support. Place your injured ankle about one step back and your good foot forward. Keeping your back heel flat on the floor, slowly bend the knee of your good leg until you feel a moderate stretch in the calf on your injured side. Repeat this 3 times, holding for 30 seconds. I would do this exercise 3 times a day.

Heel Raises

Heel raises are one of the last exercises I have people do because it is one of the hardest. After all, you have to hold all of your weight on your toes, but it helps strengthen your muscle so you can do the activities throughout the day.

Here is how to do this exercise:

Stand with your hands in front of you, resting against a wall, countertop, or chair back for support. With your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly rise on your toes and come back down. Do about 10 of these at first and work up to 20 or more. Remember, you only want a moderate stretch and no pain. When these become easy, you can switch to doing it only with the toes on your injured side.

Strengthening

Elastic Band Push

The elastic band push exercise is built around resistance to strengthen your muscles.

Here is how to do this exercise:

This is a variation of the towel stretch, but with resistance. Sit on the floor. Prop up your ankle with a rolled-up towel or a pillow to keep your heel off the floor. Place the elastic band around the ball of your foot and hold the two ends. Now slowly push your ankle forward like you’re pointing your toe. Then slowly bring it back. Repeat this 10 times. Don’t use the band if there is any pain, or if your ankle feels wobbly.

How To Decrease Swelling

 Compression

  • compression bandages
  • kinesiology tape

By using compression, it can keep the swelling from expanding and decrease the swelling drastically.

Over The Counter Anti-inflammatories

  • Ibuprofen
  • Advil
  • Aspirin

Taking any one of these will help reduce the swelling and pain in the area.

Ice & Elevation                                                           

Icing 15-20 minutes 3 times a day will help decrease inflammation.

Also, elevating your ankle as much as possible during the day and at night.

Closing Statement

I am in no means a doctor; I understand everyone’s bodies are different. I am trying to help you through my experiences; However, self-care measures and over-the-counter pain medications may be all you need. Still, a medical evaluation might be necessary to reveal how badly you’ve sprained your ankle and to determine the appropriate treatment.

I hope this article was helpful to you. If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to read more like this, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter list below, so you don’t miss out on my new articles. If you have any questions, make sure you leave them down in the comments, and I will be sure to get back to you.

Have a great day!!

~Trinity G.

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