I Just Sprained My Ankle, What Should I Do Next?

By Dr. John Schott PT, DPT

Ankle sprains are all too common. It can happen as simply as walk on a trail and you step on a rock or tree root or for athletes, while jumping up for a ball and you land on your opponent’s foot. Boom! Your ankle turns inward and you’re lying on the ground in a lot of pain. So what do you do next?

Here are some tips to fast track your recovery from an ankle sprain:

Do Not Just RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)

Rather than resting and nursing your injured ankle, get it moving. Start with some basic movements by elevating your foot and moving it back and forth, side to side, and writing the alphabet with your foot. Initially there may be some pain in end range positions but as you complete more reps, you’ll notice you will start to get more mobility in your foot

Move your ankle as often as possible! Sitting on the couch watching TV? Elevate your ankle and perform the exercises mentioned above….the more the better.

Movement is Medicine

Try to move as often as possible. As you feel you can tolerate more movement start to load your ankle with basic exercises in standing. Weight shift from side to side, elevate on to your tip toes, and stand on one leg.

Strengthen Your Hips!

With recovering and preventing ankle sprains you should not just rely on strengthening your ankles. Your hips provide strength and stability for both your ankles and your knees. Start with some basic level hip strengthening exercises (clam shells, straight leg raises, hamstring curls) but eventually progress to hip strengthening while loading your ankle (side steps, monster walks, 3-way hip). Once this becomes easier, start strengthening in single leg positions (single leg RDL, single leg squats). There are many ways to work on strengthening you ankles with balance and coordination while strengthening your hips. Functional training is key!

See our video below for a full explanation of ankle sprains including the anatomy of a sprain and exercises to progress yourself to get you feeling better quick! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@balanceptmove), and YouTube

About Dr. John Schott PT, DPT

Dr. Schott is a native of the Monterey Peninsula. He earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from University of California San Francisco. After completing his education, he moved to New York City. His clinical experience includes outpatient orthopedics, sports rehabilitation with athletes ranging from middle school club sports teams to professional athletes, chronic pain, post-surgical procedures, and vestibular rehabilitation. After a couple of years in NYC, John returned to Monterey to join the Balance PT team and to be closer to family and friends.


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