Thousands of people seek medical attention for a sprained ankle each year. Ankle sprains are very common and happen when an unnatural movement (such as a roll, twist or turn) occurs, which can stretch or tear the ligaments that help hold the ankle together.
You should always seek medical attention with a sprained ankle so the severity of the sprain can be assessed and a proper treatment plan can be put in place.
Something that our doctors will recommend to many of their ankle sprain patients is at-home exercises, which will help speed up the recovery process and re-build the strength needed in the ankle. There are three main reasons why exercises are crucial for patients to perform:
- It's imperative to restore to normal what's known as "range of motion"
- Strength must be rebuilt so a repeat injury isn't more likely to occur
- The nerves, muscles and ligaments in the ankle need to be retrained to respond to the body's different movements
To begin, some gentle range of motion exercises are recommended. These can include "writing" the alphabet with the big toe. Wearing an active ankle or other ankle brace while doing this exercise may help reduce swelling and pain. Keeping an ice pack on the ankle while doing this exercise can also be helpful.
After a few days of "writing" the alphabet, you may be able to move on to other stretches, such as the towel stretch. Fold a towel lengthwise and position it around your forefoot. Gently flex your foot upward.
Please keep in mind that before starting these exercises, you need to be evaluated by a doctor to determine if these exercises are right for you.