Ankle Rehabilitation

We have all been there.  You step off a curb funny or step in a hole while running.  BAM!  You get a sharp pain in the ankle.  You limp around a little cursing the fact you weren’t paying attention.  Now what do you do?  Well of course it swells up and hurts and you limp around and borrow some crutches.  You prop it up next to you at your desk with some ice.  After all that and if it was a simple sprain your goal is to rehab it correctly and be done with it.  Doroski Chiropractic Neurology in the Woodbridge, Dale City Virginia area is a great place to have it diagnosed but if you can’t make it to us, and it is a simple sprain, here are the things we advise our patients to do to help it heal correctly.


Ankle Rehabilitation Program1

As described in Human Locomotion, the following is a sample ankle sprain rehabilitation plan.

Phase 1. The patient is unable to bear weight.

A) Compressive wrap with U-shaped felt balance around fibula. Change every 4 hours.

B) Patient actively abducts/adducts toes for 5 seconds, repeat 10 times.

C) Write out alphabet with toes, 5 times per day.

D) Stationary bike, 15 minutes per day.

E) Ankle rock board performed while seated (off weight-bearing), 30 circles, performed clockwise and counterclockwise 2 times per day. Perform on uninjured ankle while standing for 3 minutes. The standing rock board performed on the uninjured ankle has been shown to increase proprioception in the contralateral limb.

F) Mild Grade 3 and 4 mobilization of the joints of the foot and ankle.

Phase 2. Patient can walk with minimal discomfort, and the sprained ankle has 90 percent full range of motion.

A) Mobilize all stiff joints in the lower extremity and pelvis.

B) Thera-Band exercises in all planes, 3 sets of 25 in each direction.

C) Double-leg and then single-leg heel raises on the involved side, 3 sets of 10 reps, performed 2 times per day.

D) Standing closed-eye balance, 30 seconds, 5 times per day.

E) Standing single-leg ankle rock board, performed for 1 minute, 5 times per day.

F) Closed kinetic chain exercises. (The sprained ankle is positioned securely on the ground while the patient pulls a resistance band forward and to the side. The patient then rotates 180° and the exercise is repeated by extending and abducting the uninvolved limb.)

Phase 3. Patient can hop on involved ankle without pain.

A) Run at 80 percent full speed, avoid forefront touch down.

B) Minitrampoline: 3 sets of 30 jumps forward, backward, and side to side. Begin on both legs, progress to single limb.

C) Plyometrics performed on a 50cm and a 25cm box, positioned one meter apart. Jump from one box to the ground and then to the other box, landing as softly as possible. Perform 3 sets of 5 repetitions.


Michaud, T. 2011. Human Locomotion: The Conservative Management of Gait-Related Disorders. Newton Biomechanics.




Doroski Chiropractic Neurology

3122 Golansky Blvd, Ste 102

Woodbridge VA 22192

703 730 9588

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