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  • Writer's picturePursuit of Motion

We Got Two Words for Ankle Sprains...Go Away.

“We know ankle sprains can be painful, but we’re here to help!”

Let’s talk about ankle sprains!  

Did you know that 85% of ankle sprains are inversion sprains, the dominant leg is 2.4 times more likely to be injured than the non-dominant leg, and the greatest predictor of injury is previous sprains?

By providing exercises we hope to prevent further injuries, so if you have moderate pain, follow some of these tips to get back to normal.

Pain Management & Swelling

The first part is managing pain and swelling. With ankle sprains, you can have pain, swelling, difficulty weight bearing, and you might have bruising.

In the first stage, we want to use the NICE principle for symptom management:

  • NSAIDS (anti-inflammatories)

  • Ice

  • Compression

  • Elevation

The first 3 days of this injury are typically the most painful, so make sure to avoid the activity that caused the injury and any activities that cause pain.

Begin by performing mobility exercises such as a knee-to-wall exercise.

  1. Begin by standing and facing the wall

  2. Put your toes against the wall

  3. Slowly bring your knee to the wall

  4. Move your foot away from the wall until you find a point where your knee barely touches the wall and mark where your toes are with tape.

Perform this three times on each side for 30-second holds. Use the tape to measure your improvements each day!

Build Strength

Strength comes next! Resisted eversion with a band is a great open-chain exercise for this, meaning, there is no weight bearing on the ankle.

In a seated position, place a resistance band around your feet so that the band pulls your feet inwards, and work on turning the feet outward.

This helps strengthen the fibularis muscle on the lateral side of our lower leg, which supports the area of the lateral ankle that gets stretched with a sprain. 

The next exercise we can do is a heel raise, which works the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles (calf muscles) of the leg. Using a wall or chair for balance if needed, simply raise your heels up and down slowly, and if this is too easy you can transition to single leg calf raises as long as there is no pain with double heel raises.

Work on Balance

Lastly, proprioceptive/balance exercises help increase your joint position awareness in space. These exercises are shown to increase the stability of the ankle joints, along with preventing recurring injuries.

This could include standing on both or one leg while tossing a ball back and forth. Make it more challenging by asking someone to toss the ball in random directions. To take it to the next level, do this on a bosu ball, standing on one or both legs while tossing a ball back and forth.

Have any questions about ankle sprains? We are here for (ankle) support. Give these a try and let us know how they go!


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