Treating Ankle Pain

Rehabilitation Exercises: Ankle Sprains

As soon as you can tolerate pressure on the ball of your foot, begin stretching your ankle using the Towel Stretch. When this stretch becomes too easy, try the Standing Calf Stretch and Soleus Stretch.

    Sit on a hard surface with your injured leg stretched out in front of you. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull the towel toward your body keeping your knee straight. Hold this position for 20 seconds then relax. Repeat 3 times.
    Facing a wall, put your hands against the wall at about eye level. Keep the injured leg back, the uninjured leg for­ward, and the heel of your injured leg on the floor. Turn your injured foot slightly inward (as if you were pigeon-toed) as you slowly lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Do this exercise several times each day.
    Stand facing a wall with your hands at about chest level. With both knees slightly bent and the injured foot back, gently lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your lower calf. Once again, angle the toes of your injured foot slightly inward and keep your heel down on the floor. Hold this for 20 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times.

    You can do the next 5 exercises when your ankle swelling has stopped increasing.
    Sitting or lying down with your legs straight and your knee toward the ceiling, move your ankle up and down, in and out, and in circles. Only move your ankle. Don't move your leg. Repeat 10 times in each direction. Push hard in all directions.
    Sit with your injured leg out straight and your foot facing a doorway. Tie a loop in one end of the tubing. Put your foot through the loop so that the tubing goes around the arch of your foot.  Tie a knot in the other end of the tubing and shut the knot in the door. Move backward until there is tension in the tub­ing. Keeping your knee straight, pull your foot toward your body, stretching the tubing. Slowly return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10. Then sit with your leg stretched and loop the middle section of the tubing around the ball of your foot. Hold the end of the tubing in both hands. Gently press all of your foot down and point your toes, stretching the tubing. Return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10.
    Sit with your legs out straight and cross your uninjured leg over your injured ankle. Wrap the tubing around the ball of your injured foot and then loop it around your uninjured foot so that the tubing is anchored there at one end. Hold the other end of the tub­ing in your hand. Turn your injured foot inward and upward. This will stretch the tubing. Return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10. Then reverse your ankle direction to perform the resisted eversion.

    You may do the rest of the exercises when you can stand on your injured ankle without pain.
    Balance yourself while standing behind a chair or counter. Raise your body up onto your toes and hold it for 5 seconds, then slowly lower yourself down. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10.
  8. STEP-UP
    Stand with the foot of your injured leg on a support (like a block of wood) 3 to 5 inches high. Keep your other foot flat on the floor. Shift your weight onto the injured leg and straight­en the knee as the uninjured leg comes off the floor. Lower your uninjured leg to the floor slowly. Do 3 sets of 10.
    A. Place a chair next to your non-injured leg and stand upright (for balance).  Stand on your injured foot. Try to raise the arch of your foot while keeping your toes on the floor. Try to maintain this position and balance on your injured side for 30 seconds. This exercise can be made more difficult by doing it on a pil­low or with your eyes closed.

    B. Stand in the same position as above. Keep your foot in this position and reach forward in front of you with your injured side's hand, allowing your knee to bend. Repeat this 10 times while maintaining the arch height. This exercise can be made more difficult by reach­ing farther in front of you. Do 2 sets.

    C. Stand in the same position as above. While maintaining your arch height, reach the injured side's hand across your body toward the chair. The farther you reach, the more challenging the exercise. Do 2 sets of 10.
    Jump rope land­ing on both legs for 5 minutes, then on only the injured leg for 5 minutes.
    Stand without any support and attempt to balance on your injured leg. Begin with your eyes open and then try to perform the exercise with your eyes closed. Hold the single-leg position for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. When you have mas­tered this, try doing this exercise standing on a pillow

Contact Cole Sports Chiropractic & Rehab at 540-242-4489 for an appointment with Dr. Joshua Cole, DC.

Injury Treatment Handouts

For your convenience, Cole Sports Chiropractic & Rehab has developed specific treatment handouts related to the following injuries: