Sprained Ankle: Rehab and Exercises

Posted: December 1, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Rehab
Tags: , , , ,

If you are dedicated to an exercise routine or a running schedule, a sprained ankle can put not just a damper on your plans, but halt them completely.  The question is, how do you not skip a beat, but not hinder the healing process.  By now, everyone should know of the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method of care for the ankle.  After the swelling has gone down and the ankle’s strength is returned, what’s next?  It’s now time to move on to the rehabilitation and strengthening of the ankle.

Before trying to work out with a sprained ankle, have it checked out with a physician.  Don’t play the guessing game.  If you have a fracture and you don’t allow it to heal properly, you could permanently ruin your ankle.  Healing should always be your paramount goal.  Even if your physician confirms it is only a strain, push yourself no further than the limit your ankle can handle.  There are two kinds of exercises to discuss, rehabilitation and non-rehabilitation exercises.

Rehabilitation Exercise:

The ankle is a complicated system of bones and ligaments that provide support and balance for the body.  The first goal of rehab is to regain this function.  This is done through range of motion exercises.  These exercises should be preform three to five sets a day.

  • While your leg is stretched across a bench and your foot hanging off the edge, use your big toe as your pen, write  the entire alphabet
  • While keeping your foot flat on the ground, shift your knee side to side
  • With your leg out stretched, wrap a towel around the foot, and slowly pull each end towards you stretching the foot muscles.  Repeat twenty times.

After regaining a range of motion (after a few days of rehabilitation) it is time to regain strength.  Even though you have not used the foot for a couple days the body has already started adjusting and learning to use the strength of the other leg to compensate.  We need to fight this and not lose strength while you heal over the coming days and weeks.  These exercises should not be attempted until you are able to stand on the foot without pain.

  • Create a loop with and exercise band.  While sitting in a chair, slip your good foot through one end of the loop.  The foot of the bad ankle slips through other end of the loop.  Slowly stretch the band with your legs until you find your limit.  Repeat twenty to twenty five times three times a day.

As stated earlier, balance is a primary function of the ankle.  The final stage of rehabilitation requires retraining or reminded the muscles of the ankle how to balance.   Once the ankle has strengthened, repeat these exercises three times daily.

  • Standing with your arms out stretched, balance on the injured foot.  Hold this for 30 seconds.  Repeat while increase the time by 15 seconds each time for a total of 3 sets.
  • While standing on the injured leg, slowly crouch down by bending the knee of the injured leg.  Return to the standing position.  Repeat ten to fifteen times.

After each of the rehabilitation workouts, it is good practice to ice your ankle.

Non- Rehabilitation Exercises:

There are a few cardio exercises you can do to maintain your general health or fitness.  The rule of thumb is to make sure that if you feel any strain on you ankle, STOP.

  • Stationary Cardio Bike with the injured foot on the ground and the good foot strapped in tight
  • Stationary Cardio Bike with both feet strapped in
  • Elliptical Machine (Late in your recovery)
  • Shadow Boxing
  • Using a Heavy Boxing Bag
  • Rowing Machine
  • Deep-Water Running (may even get you closer to a new PR)

Avoid any routines that require stress on the ankle as this can prolong the healing process.  Having a sprained ankle might slow you down, but it doesn’t have to stop you.  Keep on moving!

Suggestions? rebuildingroberts@gmail.com

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Comments
  1. sweetopiagirl says:

    Reblogged this on inspiredweightloss.

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