Ankle Sprain Strengthening Exercises

An ankle sprain is the stretch or tear of ligaments in your ankle. A ligament is a fibrous band of tissue that connects your foot bones to your lower leg bone. A stretched or torn ligament can cause severe pain, swelling and inflammation. Once you have one sprained ankle, you increase your risk of spraining it again, states the Mayo Clinic. After following your doctor’s treatment plan, you should take the proper measures to prevent a recurrence of an ankle sprain by performing exercises that will strengthen your ankle.

Alphabet Letters

Strengthening the muscles around your ankle provides ankle stabilization and prevents injury. After injury, you should ease your way into exercise. You should first do exercises that will increase your range of motion. The Family Doctor website recommends performing alphabet letters to increase your range of motion.

To perform this exercise, sit on the floor with your injured ankle stretched out in front of you. Pretend that your big toe is a pencil and write the letters of the alphabet in the air. Repeat this exercise up to three times as tolerated.

In and Out

Moving your ankle inward and outward will reduce stiffness that will likely occur after an ankle injury. Most ankle injuries occur because the muscles that turn your ankle inward or outward are weak and leave your ankle ligaments susceptible to injury.

To perform, turn your ankle inward and hold for 15 seconds. Next, turn your ankle outward for 15 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 to 25 times, depending on your pain tolerance.

Calf Raises

Once your range of motion has moderately improved and your pain has decreased, you should start doing weight-bearing exercises. Calf raises strengthen your calf muscles, the large muscle in the back of your lower leg, and strengthen your Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscle to your heel.

To perform calf raises, stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly stand on your toes, hold for one count and return back to the starting position. Perform this exercise 10 to 30 times, depending on your strength and pain tolerance.

Stand on One Foot

Standing on one foot is an exercise that you should perform once you have increased the strength of the muscles in your lower leg and around your ankle. In addition, your pain should be well controlled before you perform this exercise.

Hold onto a wall or an immovable object. Stand with your uninjured leg away from the immovable object, recommends the Family Doctor website. Shift your weight from the uninjured foot to the injured foot. If you can tolerate this action, then remove the uninjured foot from the ground and completely stand on the injured foot. Hold this position for 30 seconds to three minutes. Once you feel comfortable, try balancing on your injured ankle without holding on. Continue these exercises after your ankle has healed to prevent further injury.

About this Author

Jacques Courseault is a fourth-year medical student who plans to practice physical medicine and rehabilitation. He is the fitness editor for, founder and writer of Exercise Menu, and co-founder of Don’t Weight to Lose.