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Our feet and ankles become secondary by nature because we walk.  Then we may ‘roll’ our ankle or end up in an accident and we realize how much we take for granted the fact that we do walk and often we walk without any pain.  Making sure we have proper alignment of our feet, ankles and up to our knees and into our pelvis is imperative for proper gait biomechanics and lessens our chance of injury.

Below are three great exercises to help rehab your ankle after a sprain.  Remember to keep the movements controlled and pain-free.

If you are recovering from an ankle sprain, ensure you receive proper medical evaluation and are cleared to begin a rehab/exercise program.


  1. Ankle Circles and Alphabet:
  • Ankle circles are gentle, but an effective exercise to help improve ankle mobility and strength. This exercise helps to improve blood flow and loosen up the joint to help increase ankle stability.
  • Begin by sitting in a chair or on the floor with one leg extended straight out in front of you.
  • Slowly rotate your ankle in a circular motion, moving clockwise for 10 rotations and then counterclockwise for 10 rotations. Repeat on the other ankle.
  • Once you do the ankle circles, try writing the alphabet with your ankle from A to Z.  Once you begin at the beginning of the alphabet and finish at the end, you have moved your ankle in all directions.


  1. Resistance Band Ankle Flexion and Extension:
  • This exercise helps target the muscles responsible for flexing and extending your ankle. It helps improve strength and stability of the joint.
  • Sit on a chair or on the floor with your legs out in front of you.
  • Loop a resistance band around the ball of your foot and hold the other ends of the band in your hands to create tension. Keep your foot in a neutral position.
  • Flex your ankle (point your toes up toward the ceiling) against the resistance of the band and then slowly return to your starting position.
  • Then extend your ankle (point your toes down) against the band’s resistance and return to the starting position.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions per side and do 2-3sets.
  • Feel free to adjust the tension on your resistance band according to your comfort level and gradually increase the resistance as your ankle strength improves.


  1. Single Leg Balance:
  • This is a great exercise to challenge ankle stability and balance.  It helps improve proprioception and strength, which can help prevent future injuries.
  • Stand on one leg with a slight bend in the knee for stability.  If you need help with balance you may use a wall or a chair to steady yourself. However, the idea is to improve balance, so try to do so without.
  • Lift your opposite leg off the ground, keeping it bent around 90 degrees.
  • Engage your core to balance and reach your arms forward.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 seconds.  Keep your body steady.
  • You may then try to reach your arms to the sides for another 20-30 seconds.
  • Work your way up to standing on a single leg for one minute.
  • Repeat the exercise on the other side.
  • As our balance and ankle strength improve, you can make this exercise more challenging and fun by standing on an unstable surface like a wobble board or a foam mat.

A few pointers:

  • Progress gradually and listen to your body.
  • If there is any pain or discomfort during the exercise, stop immediately and consult with a healthcare professional before continuing.
  • The effectiveness of exercises can vary based on individual factors, such as the severity of the ankle sprain, the person’s overall health and their ability to follow an exercise program.
  • For individualized care seek help from an appropriate healthcare provider.