How to Strengthen Your Ankle After a Sprain

Following an ankle sprain, strengthening exercises should be performed once you can bear weight comfortably and your range of motion is near full. There are several types of strengthening exercises. The easiest to begin with are isometric exercises that you do by pushing against a fixed object with your ankle.

Once this has been mastered, you can progress to isotonic exercises, which involve using your ankle's range of motion against some form of resistance. The photos below show isotonic exercises performed with a resistance band, which you can get from your local therapist or a sporting goods store.

 
 Place your ankle in the "down and in" position against a fixed object such as a couch.
 Hold this position for a count of 10.
 Repeat 10 times.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Place your ankle in the "up and out" position against the same object.
 Hold this position for a count of 10.
 Repeat 10 times.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Push your ankle down against a fixed object and hold for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times.
 
 
Push your ankle up against a fixed object and hold for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times.
 
 
 Using a resistance band around your forefoot, hold the ends of the band with your hand
 and gently push your ankle down as far as you can and then back to the starting position.
 Repeat 10 times.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Tie the resistance bands around a fixed object and wrap the ends around your forefoot.
 Start with your foot pointing down and pull your ankle up as far as you can.
 Return to the starting position and cycle your ankle 10 times.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Tie the bands around an object to the outer side of your ankle.
 Start with the foot relaxed and then move your ankle down and in.
 Return to the relaxed position and repeat 10 times.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Tie the ends of the bands around an object to the inside of your ankle and hold your foot relaxed.
 Bring your foot up and out and then back to the resting position.
 Repeat 10 times.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Once you have regained the motion and strength in your ankle, you are ready for sporting activities such as gentle jogging and biking. After you feel your ankle strength is approximately 80% of your other side, then you can begin cutting or twisting sports.

Proprioceptive Exercises for Balance, Coordination and Agility


 Stand with your affected leg on a pillow.
 Hold this position for a count of 10.
 Repeat 10 times.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Stand on your affected leg with the resistance band applied to your unaffected leg.
 Bring your unaffected leg forward and then back to the starting position.
 Repeat 10 times.
 Start slowly and progress to a faster speed for a more difficult workout.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Again, start slowly and increase your speed at your own pace, moving the unaffected leg
 forward and then back to the starting position.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 For a more advanced exercise, swing your unaffected leg behind you and then back.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Additional Resources

How to Care for a Sprained Ankle

How to Stretch Your Ankle After a Sprain 

 
The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the "Find an Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon" tool at the top of this page or contact your primary doctor.