Anyone who’s ever hosted family or friends for the holidays knows the event isn’t over once the meal has been eaten, or after presents have been opened, or even after friends go home or the kids go to bed. There’s always cleaning up, putting things away, taking down decorations—a lot of work!
Ankle sprain recovery doesn’t end simply when the pain and swelling are gone, either. It takes time for an overstretched or torn ligament and weakened muscles to regain their former function; while they’re healing, the ankle is less protected from re-injury, and you won’t be able to fully return to your previous level of activity. A good physical therapy and rehabilitation program is key to making the recovery process for this common foot and ankle problem as smooth as possible.
The easiest stretches are isometric exercises, or ones that involve pushing your foot against a fixed object. Find a wall, sofa, or other object and, with your heels on the ground, push your toes up as high as they will go. Hold for 10 seconds; if you can, do 10 sets. You can also try this stretch with your foot in an inverted position, or even with the toes pointed downward.
Once you’re comfortable with the isometric exercises, you can try some resistance stretches using a resistance band. From a seated position, hold the band and wrap the other end around your foot. Push your ankle down as far as you can and hold the stretch. You can also wrap one end of the band against a sturdy fixed object (like a heavy table leg), the other end around your foot, and pull your ankle as far up as possible. Try wrapping the band around the side of your foot and doing inversion and eversion stretches, too.
Finally, proprioceptive exercises can help restore your sense of balance and coordination, and prevent subsequent re-injury. Simply balancing on one leg, or on a pillow, is a great way to do this. Once you can handle basic balancing, you can increase the difficulty by bending at the knee, moving your arms, or closing your eyes.
When you come in for ankle sprain treatment, the doctors at Family Foot and Ankle Center will coach you to do the best rehab exercises for your specific injury. Give us a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572.