Sprained your ankle? Strengthen it with these exercises

An ankle injury doesn't mean you should give up exercising. After a break, you can include some ankle-strengthening exercises in your fitness regime.
Ankle strengthening exercises
Fix your ankle sprain with these exercises. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 2 May 2023, 17:08 pm IST
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You might think that athletes are at higher risk of getting their ankle sprained. But even couch potatoes can end up with pain and swelling in their ankle. Ankle sprain is not rare. In fact, it is among the most common musculoskeletal injuries. According to National Library of Medicine, the main findings of a meta-analysis of prospective epidemiological studies showed a higher incidence of ankle sprain in women compared with men (13.6 versus 6.94 per 1,000 exposures). It takes its own time to heal, but you may also need to do some ankle-strengthening exercises.

Health Shots connected with fitness expert Varun Rattan, who says that the most frequent type of ankle sprain happens when the foot rolls inward and damages the ligaments of the outer ankle. There are first-aid guides for sprains, but after injury, you need to focus on rehabilitation and strength. If not done properly, a severely injured ankle may not recover well. It could result in recurrent sprains and more downtime in the future due to the loss of its range of motion and stability.

ankle strengthening exercise
Strengthen your ankle after a sprain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Ankle-strengthening exercises

The expert says that for those who have grade 1 or grade 2 ankle sprains, they can begin strengthening exercises after two to three weeks. In more severe cases, such as grade 3 where there is a complete rupture of the ligament, it is better to consult a physiotherapist before starting any exercise.

Isometric ankle eversion

• To perform isometric ankle eversion, you can sit and place a cushion or rolled towel between the outer side of your injured foot and a wall.
• Evert your ankle without any visible movement and push your foot against the wall. This will engage the muscles on the outer side of your foot. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat it eight to 10 times for three sets.

2. Isometric ankle inversion

• Sit down and place a cushion or rolled towel between the wall and the inner side of your injured foot.
• Invert your ankle without any visible movement and press your foot inward towards the wall. This will cause the muscles on the inner side of your foot to contract, says Rattan. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat eight to 10 times for three sets.

3. Plantar flexion with resistance band

• Loop a resistance band around your foot and hold its other end in your hand.
• Keep your leg straight and place a rolled-up towel or a foam roller under your calf muscle.
• Begin by pointing your toes up towards your shin.
• Gradually lower your foot and ankle against the resistance band as far as you can. Repeat this movement for 10 to 12 times in two to three sets.

4. Standing calf raise

• Begin by standing and holding onto a chair for balance.
• Push up onto your toes and hold this position for two seconds before lowering yourself back down. Repeat this movement for 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

ankle strengthening exercise
You can use resistance bands while doing ankle-strengthening exercises. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Dorsiflexion with resistance band

• Wrap one end of a resistance band around your foot and secure the other end to a table leg. Make sure your leg is straight and your lower leg is rested on a rolled-up towel or a foam roller.
• Using only your ankle, pull your toes towards your shin and hold this position for two seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Go for three sets of about 10 to 12 repetitions.

It is important make your ankle strong, especially after a sprain. But perform these exercises with caution and under professional guidance so that your ankle heals better and you don’t get more injuries.


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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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