How to Recover from an Ankle Sprain

1. Decrease Swelling (R.I.C.E)

Start: Right after you sprain your ankle

Rest -                Rest for 1- 2 weeks, use crutches if it is painful to walk.

Ice -                  Every hour that you can for 15 minutes and no more.

Compress -      Wear an ankle brace or ACE bandage wrap.

Elevate -          Rest feet higher than heart level to reduce swelling.

 

2. Regain Mobility

Start: Right after you sprain your ankle but make sure none of the movements cause ANY pain. STAY AWAY from any range of motions that cause pain.

1. Ankle pumps    

Slowly bend your foot up and down 10 times, repeat 4 - 5 times a day.

2. Ankle circles

Make 10 small circles clockwise and then 10 small circles counter clockwise, repeat 4 - 5 times a day.

3. ABCs

Write the alphabet out with your ankle 1 time, repeat 4 - 5 times a day.

 

3. Regain Strength

Start: After you regain your full ankle range of motion and you no longer have pain.

Materials: You can use therabands or resistance tubes.

 

 #1. Ankle Inversion

Without moving your hips or knees, move your ankle inwards, 10 times. Repeat 3 times for a total of 30 repetitions. Make sure to rest for 30 seconds in-between each set of 10 or to alternate with ankle eversion every set of 10 repetitions.

#2. Ankle Eversion

Without moving your hips or knees, move your ankle outwards, 10 times. Repeat 3 times for a total of 30 repetitions. Make sure to rest for 30 seconds in-between each set of 10 or to alternate with ankle inversion every set of 10 repetitions.

#3. Ankle Dorsiflexion

Pull your ankle upwards for 10 repetitions. Repeat for 3 sets. Make sure to rest for 30 seconds in-between each set of 10 or to alternate with ankle plantarflexion every set of 10 repetitions.

#4. Ankle Plantarflexion

Push your ankle downwards for 10 repetitions. Repeat for 3 sets. Make sure to rest for 30 seconds in-between each set of 10 or to alternate with ankle dorsiflexion every set of 10 repetitions.

 

4. Prevent Future Ankle Sprains

Start: After you feel like you no longer have pain and have recovered from the injury.

  1. Improve hip strength: Bridges, Clams, Crab Walks, Squats, Lunges

  2. Improve ankle stability: Single leg balance, Tandem walks, Single Leg Squats

There is a reason why you sprained your ankle in the first place. It is possible you have weak hip or ankle stabilization, poor balance, or a weak core.

If you find that you have sprained your ankle several times, I recommend seeing your nearest physical therapist for further evaluation and treatment.