5 Tips for Strengthening Your Ankle After a Sprain

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5 Tips for Strengthening Your Ankle After a Sprain

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries, and whether it's a mild twist or a more severe sprain, they can be quite painful and disruptive. Fortunately, the road to recovery is often straightforward, and you can regain strength and stability in your ankle with the right approach.

At Total Foot and Ankle in Enid, Oklahoma, board-certified podiatrist Scott Shields, DPM, and our dedicated team understand that sprains sideline you from the activities you love, whether you’re a competitive athlete or a weekend warrior. That’s why we’re here to provide comprehensive care that focuses on early intervention, conservative treatment, and prevention.

In the meantime, we'll also share five effective tips to help you strengthen your ankle after a sprain.

Understanding ankle sprains 

Before we delve into the tips, let's gain a quick understanding of what exactly happens when you experience an ankle sprain. 

An ankle sprain transpires when the ligaments supporting the ankle stretch or tear, often due to a sudden twist or turn. The severity of these sprains can fluctuate, ranging from mild cases that result in minimal damage to more severe instances causing significant ligament injury.

Now that we have a grasp of what an ankle sprain entails, let's explore five effective tips for strengthening your ankle and facilitating a smoother road to recovery.

Tip 1: R.I.C.E. (Rest, ice, compression, elevation) 

  • Rest: Give your ankle time to heal by avoiding activities that put weight or strain on it
  • Ice: Apply ice packs to reduce swelling and pain for the first 48 hours after the injury
  • Compression: Use a compression bandage to support the injured area and minimize swelling
  • Elevation: Keep your ankle elevated above heart level whenever possible to reduce swelling

Tip 2: Gradual range-of-motion exercises

Once the initial swelling and pain subside, it's time to introduce gentle range-of-motion exercises into your daily routine. These exercises encompass activities like ankle circles, alphabet writing with your toes, and flexing and pointing your toes. 

Engaging in range-of-motion exercises aids in enhancing blood circulation, alleviating stiffness, and gradually restoring mobility to your recovering ankle.

Tip 3: Strengthening exercises 

Strengthening the muscles surrounding your healing ankle becomes crucial as the recovery progresses. Incorporating effective exercises like calf raises, ankle pumps, resistance band exercises, and balance exercises on one leg is essential. 

Consistently performing these strengthening exercises is key to regaining strength and stability in your ankle, ultimately supporting a more robust recovery.

Tip 4: Proprioception training

Proprioception is your body's ability to sense its position in space. After an ankle sprain, your proprioception may be compromised. Incorporating balance and proprioception training exercises, such as standing on one leg with your eyes closed or using a balance board, can help retrain your ankle and improve stability.

Tip 5: Consult a professional

If you're unsure about the best exercises for your specific injury or if you're not making progress, consider consulting with our team of experts. They can create a customized rehabilitation plan tailored to your needs and monitor your progress, ensuring you're on the right track to a full recovery.

Ultimately, recovering from an ankle sprain takes time and patience, but with the right approach, you can regain strength and stability in your ankle. Remember to follow the R.I.C.E. protocol immediately after the injury, gradually introduce range-of-motion exercises, and progress to strengthening and proprioception training. 

If you’re ready to learn more about ankle sprains and strengthening techniques, contact us at Total Foot and Ankle to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shields today!