These are the rehab exercises that you need to get your ankle 100% and to minimize chance of re-injury which is far too comon. This ankle sprain rehab is aimed at improving range, balance and strength with simple, effective home exercises.
Too many people simply sprain re-injure their ankle is the full rehab isn’t followed through with and actually 33% still have pain remaining after one year! And on top of this, a history of ankle sprain ( you have injured it before) is the single most predisposing factor for ankle injury.(2,4)
This means after you have an ankle sprain it is very important to rehab it right as you have a high chance of ongoing symptoms and re-injury. And remember the research shows that the majority of grades I, II and III lateral ankle ligament ruptures can be managed without surgery – so get started as soon as possible for best results.(3)
Quick test: here is a great little test to see if your ankle range is back to it’s best. The other easy test to see if you need to do the level three exercises is to balance on the balls of your foot, one leg at a time – you should be able to do this for at least 30 seconds and you should be even between legs.
Grade 3 ankle rehab has 3 main goals:
- Achieve full range of motion
- Have good ankle and leg control through this range
- Full strength of the ankle stabilizers
To get there, here are the exercises that you need to do:
1. Toe balance
This is a great balance exercise to strengthen your ankle in this vulnerable position and better yet, it is simple and you can do it anywhere.
Stand on the ball of your foot. You will most likely need to start with one finger on the wall for balance.
Goal: 1 minute each side
Make it harder: Do some one leg standing and toe balance on one of my favorite rehab equipment: a BOSU Ball
2. X excursion exercise – Balance re-training
This exercise has come about from a well-used test within the health industry – the Star Excursion Balance Test. The great thing about the tests we use as physiotherapists is that they really do challenge you, which make them great as exercises also as if your body is challenged, it is going to adapt to improve.
3. Ankle stretch
Along with the classic calf stretch, this one is great for getting full range in your ankle and making sure you are even.
Hold for one minute.
4. Ankle self-mobilization
Putting in the time to rehab your ankle fully is so important, not only will it decrease or get rid of any pain but it will improve your mobility and performance. Even just working on retraining your balance decreases your chance of re-injury by 22-33% – nothing to scoff at right!(5)
So write the exercises down, favorite this post and make it a routine.
Return to Sport:
As a simple rule, once both sides are even, you can get back to training and playing. So to test yourself out, see how far you can single leg jump and make sure both legs are within 5cm of each other and then do the X-excursion exercise as above and again, make sure both sides are within 5cm of each other. If they aren’t even, keep working at it.
Also if you are returning to sports such as basketball or volleyball etc that reuqire a lot of jumping, twisitng and hopping, or if you have sprained your ankle more than once, it is definately worth yor while looking into getting a good lace-up Ankle Brace.
Yours in health,