Inversion ankle sprains are surprisingly common, occurring when someone twists their foot, causing their ankle to roll inward. While the majority of sprains are mild, some can be extremely painful and take a long time to heal. While it often takes 6 weeks for a moderate sprain to fully heal and up to 6 months for a severe sprain, you can start rehabilitating a sprain injury within the first 5 days after injury – essentially as soon as the swelling has gone and you’re generally pain-free.
5 Best Exercises for Inversion Ankle Sprains
Here are five of the best exercises for an inversion ankle sprain:
1. Side-to-Side Knee Swing
This is one of the best exercises to start with soon after injury, as it allows you to work off some of the stiffness that has likely developed and help you gauge how well you’re healing.
Sit with your feet flat on the floor on the floor on a chair that keeps your knees at around 90-degrees. Slowly, move your knee from side to side, keeping your foot flat. Continue this exercise for two minutes, working up from small movements to much bigger ones.
2. Ankle Inversion Pushes
Sit with your foot flat against the floor and push your foot outward against something solid, like a wall or heavy piece of furniture. Hold this position for around six seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise ten times.
Once you’re used to this exercise, to this same motion with a resistance band looped around the outside of your foot. Push your foot out to the side against the band, slowly bringing your foot back to the middle as you count to ten. Repeat this ten times.
3. Big Toe A B Cs
Sitting on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you, prop your ankle up on a rolled-up towel or foam roller and draw out the letters of the alphabet with your big toe. To make this a little more challenging, do this sitting in a chair and draw the alphabet with your big toe on the ground, making sure you flex at the ankle.
4. Towel Stretch
Sit on the floor with your legs extended, keeping your knees as straight as comfortable. Hook a towel around you’re the ball of your foot, hold one end of the towel in each hand, making sure your hands stay above your knees. Gently pull the towel back so that your foot slowly stretches toward you. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat it two or three times per session and up to five times each day.
5. Single-Leg Balance
Stand on a flat surface with your arms stretched out to your sides. Lift your strong leg off the floor and bend it at the knee. If you feel unsteady on your feet, you can hold on to something steady.
Stand on the leg with the injured ankle, keeping that knee straight. Aim to balance on the affected leg for up to 30 seconds. Make sure you then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this six times.
Once you’re able to balance on your weaker leg for 30 seconds with your eyes open, try doing it with your eyes shut. When you can easily do it with your eyes shut for 30 seconds with no pain, try standing on a pillow and repeat the exercise. This will alter your center of gravity and challenge your balance and strength. To step it up even further, try it on a balance board.
Recover with Joint Health 101
Whether you’re rehabilitating an inversion ankle sprain injury or are looking to increase your joint flexibility, Joint Health 101 can help you. Our step-by-step guide will teach you a full range of exercises to soothe and relieve existing joint pain, building more flexible, stronger joints than you’ve ever had before. Joint Health 101 has everything you need for healthy and pain-free joints and to recover from injury. Click here to buy it now!