Getting injured is always frustrating, especially when you are training for an event. However, you should ensure that you take the time to heal properly before you start training again. This is to make sure that you don’t cause lasting damage to your joints and muscles. Below are several ways you can strengthen your ankle after a sprain to get your mobility back.
Listen to your body after you strain your ankle. For the first few days, you’ll want to keep your weight off your ankle and ice it regularly. After around 3 days, you should be able to start putting weight on your ankle and start strengthening exercises. If substantial pain persists ensure you contact your doctor, and consider getting an x-ray.
The best exercises for your ankle help to increase the range of motion, stretch the tendons, and improve balance and control. Perform the following exercises morning and night to help strengthen your ankle and get back to training.
There are two ways to do this exercise. The first is by sitting in a chair, where your feet can sit flat on the floor. Then, using your sprained ankle, point your big toe toward the ground. Use your big toe to trace the alphabet on the ground.
The second way to perform this exercise is by sitting in a comfortable chair where you can stretch your leg out without hitting anything. Extend your leg and point your big toe forwards. Use your toe to trace the letters of the alphabet in the air. This variation is great for those looking to maintain quadriceps and hamstring strength.
The various movements help to increase motion and strengthen the tendons and muscles.
Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keep both feet on the ground, and slowly move the knee of your injured ankle slowly from side to side. Continue doing this for 2 – 3 minutes, ensuring your foot is flat on the ground throughout. This exercise helps to stretch and relax the ligaments around the ankle.
Take your shoes and socks off for this exercise. Place a hand towel in front of you as you sit in a firm chair. Then, gently pick up the towel with your toes, scrunch your toes and hold for 5 seconds. Then release your toes and the towel. Repeat 8 – 10 times or less if you start to feel pain. If you don’t have a hand towel, you can use a tissue instead.
This exercise focuses on stretching to strengthen the Achilles tendon. Sit on the floor with your injured ankle in front of you. Wrap a towel or strap around the ball of your foot and hold it firmly. Then, slowly pull on the towel so your toes move towards you. Make sure that you don’t pull too hard, and that you just feel a moderate stretch. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
Stand up facing a wall or counter, use this surface to rest your hands and support yourself. Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and slowly rise up onto your toes and then lower yourself back down. Start by trying to do 10 of these, and work your way up to 20. Only rise up to feel a moderate stretch and immediately stop if you feel pain.
This resistance exercise helps to strengthen your ankle without too much pressure. Sitting on the floor, prop your ankle up with a towel or pillow. Then, wrap a resistance band around the ball of your foot and hold the ends. Stretch your foot in front of you with your toes facing the ceiling. Then slowly point your toes forward, then back to the original position. Repeat 10 times. You can also do this exercise without the resistance band.
Ensure that you always take your time with recovery after an injury. Use the above exercises to help aid your recovery, but stop if you feel pain. Rest is an important part of the journey to strengthen your ankle after a sprain to stop repeat injuries. If you don’t let your body heal properly, you are more likely to cause permanent damage.