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8 Stretching Exercises for Sprained Ankles

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in sports and it can occur to anyone at anytime whether it’s during vigorous physical activity or simply just taking a misstep while walking on an uneven pavement. Ankle sprains happen when the ligaments that support the ankle becomes overstretched or torn. If you are feeling discomfort in your ankle joint, rest may be the best option to monitor how long the pain persists.

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Depending on the severity of your ankle injury, there are various stretches that can help to work on your strength and flexibility to ease ankle discomfort and improve your range of motion. Keep in mind that you should not perform any exercises before consulting with your doctor to ensure that exercise is safe for you to do so.

Below are 8 ankle stretches to try at home if your ankle is feeling sore or pain.

 

1) Ankle Circles

 

  • From a sitting or lying position, start by turning your ankle around slowly in circles to the left, then to the right.  
  • If this is difficult, try drawing the alphabet in the air with your foot and lead with your big toe.
  • Keep your movements small and focus on only using your foot and ankle instead of the entire leg. Try doing 10 in each direction with each foot or complete 2 sets of alphabet on each foot.

 

2) Seated Heel Raise

 

  • Sit on a stool with the foot flat on the floor and facing straight.
  • Keep the toes of the sprained ankle on the ground and lift the heel as high as possible and hold the position for as long as you can and then return to the original position.
  • Repeat this movement 15-20 times.

 

3) Towel Stretch

 

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Wrap a towel around your toes on both feet.
  • Pull the two sides of the towel back slightly until you start to feet a stretch at the very bottom of your feet and the back of your calves. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it 3 times.

 

4) Achilles Stretch

 

  • Similar to a calf stretch, start by standing near a wall with your hands on the wall at eye level.
  • Place your left leg a step behind your right leg.
  • Keep your left heel on the floor and bend your right knee until you feel a stretch in your left leg. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, repeating 2-4 times on each leg.

 

5) Single Leg Stand

 

  • Stand with the support of your hand on a table and shift your weight to the sprained ankle foot for 15-20 seconds.
  • Gradually increase the amount of weight shifted until your full body weight is used. Repeat this 3 times.

 

6) Standing Calf Raise

  • Standing on a single leg, lift your heel off the ground and stand only on your toes and the ball of the injured foot.
  • Continue rising until you feel discomfort.
  • Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 10 times.

 

7) Inversion Stretch

  • Sit on the floor and point your toes up toward the ceiling.
  • Turn your foot inward toward your other leg by only moving your ankle.
  • Continue to turn your foot until you feel discomfort. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 10 times.

 

8) Eversion Stretch

  • Sit on the floor and point your toes up toward the ceiling.
  • Turn your foot outward away from your other leg by only moving your ankle.
  • Continue to turn your foot until you feel discomfort. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 10 times.

If the pain doesn’t go away and swelling intensifies, visit your doctor or physical therapist to get assessed in order to start tailored rehabilitation treatments for your ankle. With time, a sprained ankle will recover within four to six weeks while severe ankle sprains may take a few weeks longer to heal. Brace up to protect and