Exercise After an Ankle Sprain

When you get a sprain it can be tempting to want to get back to your regular routine as quickly as possible. But healing takes time and pushing yourself too much can cause your injury to get worse. A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament – ligaments connect one bone to another at a joint and keep them in place. Ankle sprains are the most common types of sprains because they occur so easily – often when you just place your foot in the wrong position or fall down awkwardly. The severity of the sprain depends mainly on how far the ligaments were torn or how far they were stretched.

The Healing Process

Your doctor will let you know the severity of the injury and whether you should see a sports injury expert like those at Plancher Orthopedics & Sports. Doing so can help heal your ankle faster, particularly if you play sports.

The best way to heal from a sprain is to follow the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. How much you need to rest and apply compressions depends on the severity of the sprain. Typically, you should use ice for three days after the injury, to keep down swelling so blood can flow better, and heal the pain quicker.

You may need to wear a brace on your ankle if the sprain was bad enough, for up to 6 weeks after being injured.

Whether your sprain was particularly bad or not, your doctor will probably recommend you try to apply some weight or small pressure to it within the first week – for smaller sprains sometimes just 1 or 2 days later. Once you can comfortably put some weight on it, you can begin to do some rehabilitative exercises to speed up healing and get the surrounding muscles stronger top better support it.

Getting Strength Back

The best advice of course is to always start small. Once you can bear some weight on your ankle and have a fuller range of motion, simply start by pushing your foot against a sturdy object in a flexed position with the inner side of your foot against it. Hold it there about 10 seconds and build up to three times a day. Repeat with the outer side. Once you can comfortably do this, move onto some more challenging exercises:

  • Push your foot down against an object, holding for 10 seconds. Repeat pushing up against an object.

Once these exercises are all done comfortably, move onto using a resistance band. Do the same exercises with the band, tightening it more and more as you gain strength every few days.

Back To Normal

Always be sure to check with your doctor before performing any exercises of course. Once you can comfortably use a resistance band however, you are ready to start using your ankle more. Start slow by walking, then power walking, and more building back up to your workout or sport. Ankle sprains may be frustrating to get over, but you can get back to normal if you take it slow, follow doctor’s instructions, and get some expert rehab advice from a good specialist like those at Plancher Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in NYC.