Exercises for Torn Ankle Ligaments

A single misstep can lead to an ankle sprain with torn ankle ligaments. Here's what you need to know about ankle ligament damage and rehabilitation. You can do these exercises to strengthen your ankle ligaments after an injury.

Exercises for torn ankle ligaments will help you strengthen and rehabilitate your injured ankle.
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Ankle Ligament Damage and Rehabilitation

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that ligaments are strong bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another. An ankle sprain occurs when your ligaments are stretched beyond their limits, causing them to tear. Bruising, swelling, tenderness and instability are some of the symptoms of an ankle sprain.

Ankle sprains are extremely common musculoskeletal injuries; a June 2013 study published in the Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy journal notes that ankle sprains account for 7 to 10 percent of all emergency room admissions. According to Harvard Health Publishing, people of all ages, regardless of whether they're couch potatoes or athletes, can suffer from this injury.

If you suspect that you might have an ankle sprain, you should visit your doctor immediately. He or she will be able to assess the severity of the sprain and recommend a treatment plan accordingly.

An August 2013 study published in the Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery found that most cases of ankle sprains can be treated without surgery. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says your treatment plan will probably include the RICE protocol, which includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Depending on the severity of the sprain, your ankle can take anywhere between two to 12 weeks to recover and you may require crutches, a cast or a brace.

Read more: The Best Supplements for a Torn Ligament

Exercises to Strengthen Ankle Ligaments After an Injury

The Michigan Medicine lists some physiotherapy exercises for ankle ligament damage that can help strengthen them and prevent more problems in the future. Definitely consult your doctor before you start doing the exercises to ensure that they are safe for you to do. Stop doing the exercises if you experience any pain beyond mild discomfort. You may need to ice your ankle after the exercises.

Move 1: Ankle Alphabets

  1. While sitting, trace the alphabet with your toe.
  2. Repeat up to three times.

Move 2: Lateral Knees

  1. While sitting, keep your foot pressed flat on the floor.
  2. Slowly move your knee from side to side.
  3. Continue for two to three minutes.

Move 3: Towel Curls

  1. Place a towel on the floor before your chair.
  2. Sit and place your foot on the towel.
  3. Use your toes to pull the towel closer to you and then use your toes to push the towel away again.

Tip

You can place a weighted object like a soup can on the towel to make the exercise more challenging.

Move 4: Towel Stretch

  1. Sit down with your leg stretched out in front of you.
  2. Roll up a towel and place the middle under the ball of your foot, keeping the ends in your hands.
  3. Keeping your knee straight, gently pull the towel towards you.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat two to four times.

Move 5: Outward Push

  1. Sit next to a wall. The wall should be on your injured side.
  2. Keeping your foot flat on the floor, start pushing it outward, against the wall.
  3. Hold for six seconds.
  4. Do eight to 12 repetitions once or twice a day.

Move 6: Inward Push

  1. Sit and place both your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Push your injured against your other foot.
  3. Hold for six seconds.
  4. Do eight to 12 repetitions once or twice a day.

Move 7: Upward Push

  1. Sit and place your uninjured foot over your injured foot.
  2. Push down with your uninjured foot while pushing upward with your injured foot.
  3. Hold for six seconds.
  4. Do eight to 12 repetitions once or twice a day.

Move 8: Balance

  1. Stand near a doorway and balance on your injured foot.
  2. Keep your eyes open and your arms out at your sides. You can grab the doorway if you need support.
  3. Balance for as long as you can, working your way up to 60 seconds.
  4. Repeat six times over the course of one exercise session.

Warning

Do not attempt this exercise if you feel you might not have been able to do it before your ankle was injured.

Read more: How Long Should You Wait to Exercise a Sprained Ankle?

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