The most common issue that people who have suffered an ankle sprain face is that their risk of reinjury is extremely high. This is dramatically reduced if they go through a strong rehabilitation programme - as high as 300%!
We've come up with 3 exercises that you can do at home, to improve your ankle stability after a sprain, and reduce the likelihood of you suffering another one.
1. Heel Drops
Stand on a step on one leg. Using your arms for balance, slightly bend your standing leg so that your raised heel drops below the level of the step. Tap the step below (or the floor) with your hanging heel, raise back up to the starting position. Do not put your weight into the step below, just tap it and raise up again.
To make it slightly harder, hold something weight in your hands or make the surface unstable by placing a pillow under your standing foot. If you are doing this, make sure it is safe to do so and you are not at risk of falling and causing further injury!
If you are struggling, make the exercise easier by performing it the same but only step down slightly so your heel just goes past the step.
2. Single Leg Calf Raises
Stand on a box or step with your heels hanging off the back. Rise up onto your toes and then lower down slowly so that your heels drop below the box/step before repeating.
Increase the range of movement by dropping down to a lower point during the lowering phase to make it more dificult. Alternatively you could add a weight into your hands or complete the exercise on one leg.
If you are finding it too difficult, complete the exercise on a flat surface. This reduced the range of movement you will go through by removing the negative 'drop'.
3. Single Leg Balancing
Stand on one leg... wobble. The tiny movements you do to adjust your balance will strengthen the small connective tissues in your ankle.
Reduce the stability of the surface you're standing on to make the exercise more difficult. You can stand on a pillow, specifically designed balance board, Bosu ball or trampoline. Closing your eyes will also challenge your balance to make it slightly more difficult.
To make it easier, break it down into small timed chunks. For example if you can't manage to balance for 60 seconds, break it down int to 2 x 30s, 4 x 15s or 6 x 10s etc...
TIP: Get a friend to throw you a ball or something while you're balancing. This will make it less boring and challenge your balance. If you're a footballer, you can get them to throw you a football to head back.
You can complete all 3 of those exercises at home and your ankle stability will improve significantly, reducing your risk of reinjury! Do you constantly keep rolling your ankle and suffering with ankle pain? Check out our lateral ankle sprain rehabilitation programme below, designed to help you recover from current injuries but also prevent them happening further down the line.