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Rehabilitation Exercises for a Sprained Ankle

There are a number of ways you can strengthen your ankle and help speed up the healing process after a sprain. These are referred to as strengthening or rehabilitation exercises and can be done in the comfort of your home. For best results, you should begin rehab exercises as soon as possible after your sprain, preferably within the first 72 hours.

Let’s take a look at what some of the best and easiest rehabilitation exercises are and how to do them.

Walking and Bearing Weight

One of the best ways to begin healing from a sprained ankle is by walking or bearing weight on your injured ankle. If needed, use crutches while walking and don’t overdo it. The idea is to promote healing and decrease the chances of re-injury. If you’re still in a lot of pain, keep walking to a minimum at first and then gradually increase how much you walk.

Range of Motion Exercises

Write the alphabet with your feet. To do this, sit in a comfortable chair and raise your ankle. Then write the alphabet in the air using your foot. Start slowly and don’t worry about getting through the entire alphabet at first. The idea is to heal the ankle, increase strength and flexibility so you regain 100% range of motion, and decrease the chance of re-injury.

Dorsiflexion and plantar flexion with a resistance band. Put the band around the bottom of your forefoot and hold on to it with your hands. Push against the band with your foot. You can also reverse this exercise by tying the ends of the band to a stationary object and pulling the band with your foot. This helps a great deal because it’s the same motion as walking, and the resistance band helps to strengthen your ankle in preparation for getting back on your feet.


These are effective about five to seven days after you sprain your ankle. Stretching your ankle will help get it back to full functionality with less likelihood of re-injury.

Start from a seated position. Sit down on a chair or your couch and get stretching!

Pull your toes back and up toward you. Do this until you feel a pull in your calf, then hold for a count of 10 and repeat 10 times.

Point your toes down and in. Hold this position for a count of 10 and repeat 10 times.

Point your toes up and out. Hold this position for a count of 10 and repeat 10 times.

Point your toes straight out. Hold this stretch for a count of 10 and repeat 10 times.

You can do an online search for more in-depth exercises, but these should get you started. Your doctor can also recommend an exercise and rehab routine that will help you strengthen your ankles and help prevent re-injury. In many cases, doing these rehabilitation exercises regularly can also help to speed up the healing process.

If you’ve sprained your ankle and need some guidance, we’re here to help! At Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists, we know how important it is to recover quickly, and our doctors are ready to assist you. Same day appointments are available, so please give us a call today at 414-439-2279.

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This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.

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Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists of Wauwatosa, Oak Creek, New Berlin and Mequon, Wisconsin (WI) treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrists, Dr. Steven Waldman, Dr. Christopher Milkie and Dr. Lucy Meier can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.
Our podiatrists, foot surgeons and staff of our Milwaukee area podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community. Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!
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