Ankle Sprain Rehab Exercises

John demonstrating tack and floss on the ankle to help with ankle sprain rehab

It’s happened to everyone.  You’re walking, hiking, running, and all of a sudden you step and your foot suddenly slips out from underneath you.  Your heart is racing as you’re preparing to fall, but you catch yourself with the other foot… What was it you might ask?  The dreaded acorn or walnut on the sidewalk.  As Charlie Brown would say, “Good Grief!”.  Maybe you have instant pain, perhaps it doesn’t set in until you get home.  Either way, you know you need some ankle sprain rehab exercises.  No matter what way you sprained your ankle, these exercises are going to help you recover!  

How Soon Can I Rehab?

Since you’re not sitting with us in our office, we have to say it all depends on the severity of what you’re dealing with.  If you suffered a sprain, it’s important to seek out professional guidance.   A general rule of thumb, especially if you’re dealing with a severe sprain with bruising, is to let your ankle rest for around 4-6 weeks.  This will allow for any tears to heal before you start challenging it with movement.  Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor to start rehabbing it’s important that you start working on mobilizing the joint.

Why Are These Ankle Sprain Rehab Exercises Good?

Each of the exercises we are using have a specific purpose for your ankle.  The bones in the center of the ankle, the talus, tend to get surrounded by scar tissue, and thickened connective tissue.  This can make it feel sticky or stuck, unable to move in its natural range of motion.  These exercises help restore this movement to get you feeling good as new!

Our Ankle Sprain Rehab Primer

For this primer you’ll need a tack and floss band and a resistance band.  

Tack and Floss of the Ankle

The first exercise is tack and floss.  If you’ve been following us for a while you know how much we love this!  Flossing breaks up scar tissue, adhesions, and thickened connective tissue.  You achieve this by using compression, blood flow restriction, and going through active range of motion.  This compression allows fresh blood to flood the area promoting healing.

John doing plantar flexion to break up scar tissue in his ankle

A few key things to remember about this are that you want to have at least 50-75% tension on the band while you’re wrapping and since you’re restricting blood flow it’s normal to feel some tingling in your foot and toes!  Don’t leave the band on for much more than 60 seconds. 

Banded Ankle Mobilization

Dr. John demonstrating banded ankle mobilization for an ankle sprain rehab exerciseOnce we’ve broken up some of that connective and scar tissue, we are going to use a band to help the bones get movement back.  You want to find a stable place to attach your band to that gives you a low angle.  That way the band is pulling almost straight backwards on the front of your ankle.  With tension pulling on the front of your ankle, you’ll go through almost the same range of motion you did in the last tack and floss exercise.  

Post Tibialis Strengthening Exercise

This exercise is one of our favorites for ankle and foot recovery.  It targets the posterior tibialis which goes down the back of the leg and attaches into the bottom of the foot.  You can use the same band you used for the mobilization exercise above.  This exercise requires a scooping motion that goes down and in. 

Dr. John strengthening his posterior tibialis muscle

Watch The Ankle Sprain Rehab Exercises Video Now!

When To Do The Primer

We know you want to get back to yourself and fast!  That is why we find it’s most effective to do this primer right before you train or do your favorite activity.  What is most important is consistency.  If you want to see real results you have to do this every day!  If we’re more focused on consistency and you struggle with that, try making this part of your wake up routine.  Your ankle will be ready to take on the rest of the day.  You should start seeing real results in 2-3 weeks.  Remember, it’s important to listen to your body.  If you tried this and it didn’t help or even aggravated your ankle, you might not be ready to start these exercises.

Let us know how you enjoyed this primer!  Hopefully it will help you get back to being yourself in no time!  If you have any questions or issues, feel free to reach out to us on your favorite social network!  If you’re seeing great results, we want to see them too!  Share a quick video with your progress and tag us! 

MDRx Foot and Ankle Recovery

Are you dealing with foot and ankle pain every day?  It’s hard to walk with confidence when you feel twinges and twangs.  Are you ready to be rid of feeling like you’re always walking on eggshells (literally and figuratively)?  MDRx Foot and Ankle is here to help.  This program focuses on improving range of motion.  You’ll have access to a 15 min nightly routine to help loosen up your muscles and then 3 days of programming (15 mins as well!) to stabilize and strengthen your feet and ankles.  Stop feeling anxious every time you go to stand up after a good night’s rest or get ready to go on a stroll.  Start MDRx Foot and Ankle recovery today! 


Looking for another kind of recovery?  Check out our full list of programs here!

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