Ankle: Exercises

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Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of exercises for your ankle. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

"Alphabet" exercise

Alphabet range-of-motion exercise for the ankle
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slide 1 of 6, "Alphabet" exercise,
  1. Trace the alphabet with your toe. This helps your ankle move in all directions.

Side-to-side knee swing exercise

Knee range-of-motion exercise for an ankle sprain
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slide 2 of 6, Side-to-side knee swing exercise,
  1. Sit in a chair with your foot flat on the floor.
  2. Slowly move your knee from side to side while keeping your foot pressed flat.
  3. Continue this exercise for 2 to 3 minutes.

Towel curl

Towel curl exercise
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slide 3 of 6, Towel curl,
  1. While sitting, place your foot on a towel on the floor and scrunch the towel toward you with your toes.
  2. Then use your toes to push the towel away from you.
  3. Make this exercise more challenging by placing a weighted object, such as a soup can, on the other end of the towel.

Towel stretch

Calf-plantar fascia stretch
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slide 4 of 6, Towel stretch,
  1. Sit with your legs extended and knees straight.
  2. Place a towel around your foot just under the toes.
  3. Hold each end of the towel in each hand, with your hands above your knees.
  4. Pull back with the towel so that your foot stretches toward you.
  5. Hold the position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat 2 to 4 times a session, up to 5 sessions a day.

Ankle eversion exercise

Ankle eversion strengthening exercise
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slide 5 of 6, Ankle eversion exercise,
  1. Start by sitting with your foot flat on the floor and pushing it outward against an immovable object such as the wall or heavy furniture. Hold for about 6 seconds, then relax. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  2. After you feel comfortable with this, try using rubber tubing looped around the outside of your feet for resistance. Push your foot out to the side against the tubing, and then count to 10 as you slowly bring your foot back to the middle. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Isometric opposition exercises

Isometric opposition strengthening exercise for an ankle sprain
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slide 6 of 6, Isometric opposition exercises,
  1. While sitting, put your feet together flat on the floor.
  2. Press your injured foot inward against your other foot. Hold for about 6 seconds, and relax. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  3. Then place the heel of your other foot on top of the injured one. Push down with the top heel while trying to push up with your injured foot. Hold for about 6 seconds, and relax. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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