Ankle Sprain Rehab Exercises | Sydney Sports Medicine Centre - Education

6 Figtree Drive Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127

Ankle Sprain Rehabilitation

To Restore Normal Ankle Function After an Ankle Sprain


Range of Motion Exercises

Help you regain normal ankle motion. You should start this straight away for a simple sprain. Please check with your doctor to make sure that you don’t have a fracture!

Technique: Sit with your knee straight and hold the foot position as long as possible. Do as frequently as possible for the first 3-10 days.
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Pullback

Flex your foot back toward your body

Flexibility (Stretching) Exercises

Loosen tight leg muscles. Tightness makes it hard to use stairs, walk, run and jump.

Technique: Hold each exercise 20seconds at a gentle stretch. Do not bounce!

Frequency: 6-10 repetitions/exercise, 5-7 days per week
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Calf Stretch - Basic

Sit with your knee straight and towel looped around the ball of your foot.

Slowly pull back until you feel your upper calf stretch.
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Calf Stretch - Advanced

Once you can stand, try stretching with your hands on a wall.

Place the injured foot behind the other with your toes pointing forward.

Keep your heels down and back leg straight.

Slowly bend your front knee until you feel the calf stretch in the back leg.
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Heel Stretch - Basic

Sit with your knee slightly bent. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot.

Slowly pull back until you feel a stretch in the lower calf and heel.
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Heel Stretch - Advanced

Once you can stand, try placing your injured foot behind the other with your toes pointing forward.

Keeping your heels down, slowly bend your back knee until you feel a heel stretch in the back leg.

Strengthening Exercises

Strong leg muscles help the ligaments hold the ankle together.

Frequency: Three sets of 20 repetitions, 5-7 days per week
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Front of Shin Basic - Push Out

With your foot flat on the floor, push it outward against a wall, file cabinet or bookcase. Hold for three seconds.
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Front of Shin Advanced - Band

Tie the band to a desk or dresser.

Sit with your foot and knee in line and loop the band over the outside of your foot.

Push your foot out against the band.
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Inner Shin Basic - Push In

With your foot flat on the floor, push it inward against your other foot.

Hold for three seconds.
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Inner Shin Advanced - Band

Tie the band to a desk or dresser.

Sit with your foot and knee in line, and loop the band over the inside of your foot.

Push your foot in against the band.
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Front of Shin Basic - Push Up

Place the heel of your other foot on top of the injured one.

Push down with the top heel while trying to push up with the injured foot. Hold for three seconds.
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Front of Shin Advanced - Band

Tie the band to a desk or dresser.

Sit with your leg straight and loop the band over the top of your foot.

Slowly pull your foot back against the band.

To Prevent Re-injury


  • Continue daily calf and heel stretching, especially after activity (indefinitely)
  • Continue ankle strengthening 3-4 days per week (indefinitely)
  • Complete the balance tests and exercises (if needed)
  • Wear an ankle brace during strenuous activity (indefinitely)

Balance


An ankle sprain can decrease your ability to balance on that foot and makes it easier to roll the ankle again. As soon as you can stand without pain, try the balance tests below. If you can't balance for ten seconds without wobbling, practice that level every day until you can. You can stop when you pass the Level 4 test.

Technique: Balance on your injured foot for ten seconds, do a least 6 repetitions per day.

Frequency: Stand 60 seconds without losing your balance, then move to the next level.
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Level 1 - Arms out to your side, eyes open

Level 2 - Arms across your chest, eyes open

Level 3 - Arms out to your side, eyes closed

Level 4 - Arms across your chest, eyes closed


Bracing

Injured ligaments can take up to 16 weeks or more to heal. An ankle brace helps protect the ligaments not only during recovery but also when returning to sport or exercise activities.
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Level 2, NSWIS Building
6 Figtree Drive
Sydney Olympic Park
NSW 2127

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Rhodes NSW 2138


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