Exercises to treat a twisted ankle

pain relief

How soon should you start rehabilitation exercises after a sprained foot?

Increasing flexibility is a crucial factor in rehabilitation for a sprained ankle.

Rest is the first thing to do after an ankle injury. After a doctor diagnoses a twisted ankle, the patient should rest for several days. Some home remedies can help with recovery.

Elevating your foot can help reduce swelling. You can reduce swelling and discomfort by placing an ice pack in a towel wrap for 10 minutes every few days. You can also take over-the-counter drugs to help ease the pain, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Most people with mild to moderate sprains can rest for a few days. After a few weeks, you can begin to do gentle exercises that will help you rehabilitate your ankle. The ligaments heal in about six weeks.

It is essential to rest and then begin the rehabilitation process. This will help the ankle recover strength.

Click on this link to learn more about healing a sprained foot.

Guidelines and exercises for the ankle

The ankle joint is complex. To recover from an ankle injury, the injured person will need to concentrate on four things:

  • Range of Motion
  • Strengthening your muscles
  • Flexibility
  • Balance

These functions are all essential for a healthy joint. Different exercises will target one or more factors.

Exercise therapy is a vital part of healing. According to a review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, there are strong indications that exercise therapy is effective for treating an ankle sprain. Exercise strengthens the ankle, preventing recurrent sprains and other problems.

Exercise is also recommended as a treatment for ankle sprains in a small study from 2019. A 2016 study indicates that failing to exercise after an ankle sprain can lead to chronic ankle instability and may even require surgery.

These exercises may cause slight discomfort, but they shouldn’t be painful. If you feel pain in your ankle, stop exercising and rest it.

Range Motion

After an injury, your ankle will be stiff with a limited range. Exercises are essential for restoring a range of motion.

Ankle circles

Make clockwise and anticlockwise circular motions with your foot and ankle.

Sit comfortably in a chair or couch and lift your foot off the floor. Start by making slow, large clockwise circles with your ankle and foot.

Repeat ten times in a counterclockwise direction.

Draw or write with your ankle.

You can also use your foot to write or draw letters, numbers, or other characters.

Sit comfortably in a chair or couch and lift your foot off the floor. Use the big toe of your foot as a pencil or cursor and trace each letter in the alphabet.

Repeat the alphabet three times if this exercise doesn’t cause you pain.

Knee Motion

Sit on a chair, feet flat on the ground. Gently move your leg from side to side without raising your foot. If you feel no pain, continue for 3 minutes.


The ankles must be strong enough to support the weight daily.

It is essential to begin strength training when prescribed by your doctor. Strength training can usually be started once a person can stand on their ankles without experiencing pain or swelling.

Towel curls

Place a hand towel in front of a hard chair, like a kitchen chair.

Grab the towel with your toes. Hold this position and then release it.

If it doesn’t hurt, repeat this action ten times.

Use your foot to pick up the marbles and place them into a cup.

Band Pushes

Sit on the floor, legs out in front.

Wrap a towel or resistance band around the ball of your foot.

Repeat this ten times. Repeat this ten more times.

Wall pushes

Rest your feet against the wall and sit on the floor. Push the healing leg against the wall by bending the other leg. Hold the position for six seconds, then relax. Repeat this ten times.

Heel raises

Place your hands behind the chair to support yourself. Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor and slowly raise your toes. Then, come back down.

Do not favor the side that is injured. When moving up or down, put equal weight on each ankle. If necessary, hold onto the chair at first. If you do not feel pain, perform 10-20 raises simultaneously.


It is essential to improve flexibility in the ankle so that it can move and stretch to support the body’s weight.

You can increase ankle flexibility by performing several different exercises.

Calf stretch

Stretching the ankle with a towel or band can help improve flexibility.

Sit with your legs in front of you.

Put a band or towel around the ball of your feet, and gently pull them back so their toes point towards the body.

This should result in a gentle stretch of the calf and the back of the leg.

Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds if it doesn’t hurt.

Standing calf stretch

Place your hands at eye level on the wall.

Step back a little with the leg that is healing.

While keeping the healer’s foot flat on the floor, gently bend the other knee at the knee, feeling the stretch in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds.

Repeat the same motion, but slightly bend your back knee. You will be stretching a different area of your calf. Hold for 30 seconds.

Repeat the process three times.


Balance is also dependent on the ankle.

Maintaining good balance can be achieved by strengthening and improving ankle control.

One Leg Balancing

Place your hands behind the back of a chair to provide support.

Lift the leg that is not injured off the floor so that the leg healing takes the weight of your body.

The standing knee should be slightly bent—balance for 30 seconds.

Start using a chair to support you, but gradually move away from it. This will improve the strength of your ankle.

After a person masters this exercise, they can progress to more difficult balance exercises. Some variations include:

  • Moving the head sideways
  • Knees can be bent and straightened by a slight amount
  • The eyes are closed

The exercises can be challenging, but they will help you to train your leg to balance.

Gentle cardiovascular exercises

Targeting your ankles with specific exercises is essential, but it is equally important to train and strengthen the rest of your body.

You can still do cardio exercises while you recover from an ankle sprain.

Swimming or using an elliptical or stationary bike are gentle exercises to get your heart pumping. These movements may not be as strenuous on the ankles as other exercises, such as walking or running.

Attention to the signs that your ankle sends is essential. Avoid pushing the ankle too much, which may cause further injury or delay healing.

Protect your ankle

Some doctors recommend wearing a temporary ankle brace while your ankle heals.

You may need to use stiffer elastic wraps or braces to keep the ankle in the correct position and support it while it heals. Brutal casting may be required for severe sprains.

However, these devices should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

The ankle may become weaker if you wear a brace for too long. It may be because the ankle doesn’t need as much support as these devices provide.

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