Rehabilitation Exercises To Consider After Spraining An Ankle
The ankle is a fascinating joint in the body because it allows you to walk, run, stand, and play in a stable and functional manner. Unfortunately, the ankle is also one of the most abused joints in the body, since so much stress is placed on this body part. A sudden twist or improper movement can cause the ligaments in the ankle to stretch and tear. Known as a sprain, this ankle injury can be painful and immobilizing.
While shocking for some people to learn, an estimated 25,000 people sprain their ankle each day. If you have sprained your ankle, your doctor will suggest rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the ankle, or R.I.C.E therapy, to heal the damaged ligaments. However, physical therapy may be necessary in severe sprains or if you have sprained the same ankle multiple times. Using this guide, you will learn a few beneficial exercises to restore the function and comfort of your ankle after a sprain.
Range of Motion Exercises
You will want to improve your ankle's range of motion immediately after your injury. Of course, you must work with your therapist before completing these exercises, since improper movement may result in more damage to the ligaments. Consider doing the following exercises while watching television or relaxing in a chair:
- Alphabet Writing – With your leg extended, use your foot to write the alphabet in the air. This encourages the ankle to move in a variety of directions, which helps blood flow and reduces swelling and pain.
- Knee Slides – While sitting, plant your foot flat on the floor. Keep your foot planted while moving your knee side to side. Make sure to move the knee with the affected ankle. Repeat the movement a few times.
- Curls – Place a towel on the floor and set your foot with the affected ankle on top of the towel. Use your toes to curl the towel under your foot. This will require a good amount of ankle movement, which will ease your swelling and pain while improving your ability to move the ankle.
After completing each exercise, place an ice pack on your ankle to numb any pain.
A sprain will prevent you from placing enough pressure on the ankle. Not only will you struggle with walking and running, but the damaged ligaments will also prevent you from having enough support to balance yourself.
In most cases, your therapist will suggest improving your balance and control with a few exercises. If you are unable to stand on the sprained ankle without pain, you should wait a few more days in your recovery before completing these exercises.
Each day, practice standing on the foot with the sprained ankle. Hold your arms out to the side in an attempt to gain control while balancing on the one foot. Balance for a few seconds, increasing the amount of time you are able to stand on the sprained ankle.
Use extra precaution while completing this exercise because wobbling on your injured ankle can cause further damage. Due to this risk, it is helpful to work with your physical therapist or use an aid such as a walker or your doorway.
Stand in the middle of a doorway and place your arms on each side of the doorframe. This will help steady yourself while balancing on the one affected foot. Repeat the balance exercise multiple times per day until you are able to stand on the affected foot for around a minute.
Ankle sprains may be common, but they are dangerous injuries. Recovering from a sprain is possible with the help of your doctor and physical therapist who specializes in sports injury physical therapy.