Best Ankle Rehabilitation Exercises for an Ankle Injury (Sprain or Fracture)

Best Ankle Rehabilitation Exercises for an Ankle Injury (Sprain or Fracture)


I’m Bob Schrupp physical therapist, Brad Heineck physical therapist. Together we are the most famous physical therapists on the internet, in our opinion of course Best ankle rehabilitation exercises for those recovered from an ankle injury. That’s the title of our program. There you go. We’re done. All right. That’s it Thanks for watching. Let’s do this right away Brad if you are new to our channel, please take a second to subscribe to us We provide videos how to stay healthy fit pain-free and we upload every day Subscription button here and here Also go over to the Facebook and like us because Brad and I as children We’re not liked and now we’re trying to turn things around sad as it may sound. All right now ankle injury No, this is gonna apply to whether you sprained your ankle or you fractured your ankle, but you have to have Weight-bearing as tolerated orders from the doctor. I’ve got a woman that fractured her lower fibula right by her ankle and as soon as she weight bearing is tolerated We got to do these. And you’re gonna want to make sure this is okay with your doctor or your therapist I mean don’t just be jumping into these without their guidlines Every ankle injury can be a little bit different Some would say no no we don’t want you doing these yet But in the case where it’s weight-bearing as tolerated the doctor says you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t create any Notable pain, then you’re good to go. You will need a little thera-band here. This is actually can do banned. Thank you Bob And it’s we like the quality It’s actually I think a little stronger than the thera-band right so I like the feel of it. I really do Bob before we get started a given is the price P.R.I.C.E. if your ankle gets tired swollen sore don’t be afraid to Elevate it put a cold pack on it if you want to wrap it with an ace wrap to put some mild Compression on it and that’s gonna be helpful. If you overdo it to get it to settle down .The “P” is protected you want to make sure Maybe you’re going to be wearing an ankle brace when you’re up But I mean you don’t want to turn it again or break it again. So the first thing you want to do And this is the basics of physical therapy range of motion you want to get that ankle to move again in all different directions So a nice little way to do this to keep your mind thinking of something else besides your ankle is Imagine there’s a piece of chalk right on the end of your bi toe and there’s a chalk board in front of you And you’re gonna make the letter A with that toe. I like to use capital letters And that way you get dorsiflexion you get plantar flexion eversion inversion And it’s an affectional movement and because there’s something to think about you know you don’t just sit there and get bored doing simple of this and this. Ideally too, Brad, you have a lot of the legs supported. You know what I mean Yeah, if you’re holding out like this your quads gonna get tired now So I was just doing that so they could see it But that’s definitely preferable because now we’re focused just on the ankle itself and we can make the “B” and The “C”. By the way Brad I got to go back to that price real quickly when he said “price”. That’s an acronym P.R.I.C.E. Protection Rest Ice Compress and Elevate Next step, we’re gonna get the Can-Do band. This I works best with a shoe on. You can do it with the shoe off but this grips to the bottom of the shoe really nicely which is advantageous and By the way, we have this product listed in our products section below These are products that we like and you can get just a four foot section of it So you just got to work plantar flexion so work on some strengthening But on the way back make sure you’re gonna come back and get a stretch with it so it comes into the dorsiflexion You’re gonna do repetitions. I know my my wife has been watching some of out videos She says Brad you got a little no how many repetitions So sometimes we forget that so you can do 10 to 15 of these. (Sorry Julie) She’s right quality control has all wives are Say no more Bob We also want to get every version so the ankle muscles going out and this works well You can just put one foot like this. You see what he did there? Okay, he’s got it pulled at any takes the other foot pushes down like that and now look at that a little tricky You’re not gonna do this on a stool you’re gonna do it on the floor But this way it’s a better angle for the camera, and then you’re just simply gonna go out like this Again 10 to 15 reps and then give it a rest, and if it’s feeling good You can do another 10 to 15. I’d guess that’s given a pretty good Strengthening isn’t it? This is pretty heavy stuff. Yeah, the blue is heavier if you get a lighter color the yellow or the pink It’s gonna be easier to work and probably might what you want when you start. Generally with bands the lighter they are the less resistance And you can do these two to three times per day morning afternoon and evening if it tolerates and you’re not to wore out That’s a great one to do because most people when they hurt their ankle they turned it in this way alright So you want to strengthen it this way, so you’re ready for to prevent further injuries Next thing is simply walk on it on a flat surface You’re not gonna go walk out in the yard or up and down on a trail But a flat surface walk on it as long as it doesn’t create any pain when it gets tired This time said take a break What you’re trying to do is walk with a normal patterndon’t try to take a short step on one side You don’t want to promote that. Be very aware You’re trying to get walk all the way through and get the weight on to the forefoot You know that’s what you want to pay attention to that you’re starting to walk normal now. Because you can get bad habits from walking with a limp I’ve seen many many times It’s very hard to correct sometimes after you’ve established it. And the person may not even be aware of it Because they may have learned it over time Keep in mind all of these exercises that require Very little. Only thing you really need to purchase is a Can-Do band I call this the Ziggy zaggy, and this really works the lateral in Medial lateral muscles of the ankle I have a cane here. You don’t need one necessarily, but you might Well know you look like you’re doing a dance step with the cane there Brad. You better believe it Bob It’s all in fun. We need to give you a top hat therapies fun. Now. I’ve got the patient right now. She can do this But when I say can you do it on one leg she can do it easily on her good Leg of course, but on her sore one even with a cane it still hurts, so she’s not ready for it. I’m sure she’ll be fine and she’ll be doing this. And that shows you that’ll show your progression You can try it on your good side first, and if you’re you’re able to do it And you can’t do it outside. It shows you you got that much more to go. So we’re gonna work in pain free range of motion pain free exercises You can use a chair to hold on to it you can use a cane and the next one is simply up on your toes and Back on your heels as high as you can go make sure you get full range of motion Now Brad, I don’t know about you, but I would maybe do this one before the zigzag. yeah, that’s a good point you know you could do it in the Opposite order cuz these are I think are a little easier. wou’dnt you say? You’re right. You’re exactly right now one thing So if you do switch it one way or another you’re gonna start with two feet when you get To 15 of these with two feet and both legs feel about the same And make sure you’re putting the same amount of weight on each leg because inherently Your body’s gonna say all if this one’s a sprain one you’re gonna put more weight on the good one Until you think about it you’ve already established that probably from their pain. But once they get better you’re gonna go to just the sore ankle and see how you can do and then you might grab on a Countertop or the back of a chair if you want. I mean you don’t need to use a cane And then eventually you can go to with only one Without grabbing on to something for balance That’s the progression of it’s gonna get stronger and .stronger. I Have people just start doing sidestepping like this right sure because it’s working and I have them go in both directions because it’s working the muscles in both directions and without getting into too much deeper inversion and e-version and Then if you want to start going a little bit faster Then eventually you can even start you know right a little bit of higher movement here. Go one above one behind. I’m switch to say one in front This leg it was in front then it goes behind Front then behind, so I’m gonna go this way again leg goes in front now it goes behind leg goes in front and then You can try doing these at higher speeds Especially if you’re an athlete You can go into just I do so just a simple assessment for their balance and strength of the ankle If this is the good ankle stand for 30 seconds and see if you can do it without Touching the wall or the countertop, or if you have a can do you need to push the cane to catch your balance Typically you can do this you know someone in twenties or thirties can do a thirty seconds without too much problem then you go on your sprained ankle and you might be Amazed at the difference where you may have to touch and make sure you count how many times you touch in 30 seconds and then come back in a week and do it again Yeah, if you had to catch yourself seven or eight times like this you know in a week from now You might don’t have to do it once or twice and it’s that’s just a way to know that you’re progressing not just the strength, but your balance and your proprioception I think we’ll bring it to a close here, by the way, Brad and I are not just pretty We’re pretty ugly Bob! No we’re pretty helpful and handy, so make sure you subscribe to us if you haven’t already Thanks! Take care!

71 thoughts on “Best Ankle Rehabilitation Exercises for an Ankle Injury (Sprain or Fracture)

  1. Thankful for you amazing experience to help us 😊
    But excuse me if that possible I need Some exercises to treat Vibrio because I’m a soccer player and it’s almost hit me

  2. This video is just what I needed after breaking my ankle 11 months ago. I'm past the early ROM and strengthening exercises and walking normally. The "grapevine" is something I hadn't seen before, and may get me comfortable enough to dance the Howrah at my nephew's wedding! Thank you!

  3. Thanks so much–some much more interesting and challenging exercises than I've seen elsewhere. I broke my ankle in 3 places about 10 months ago and because of an infection, having a second surgery to remove the hardware and my incision dehisced, I was only able to begin range of motion and strengthening exercises about a month ago. Although I've made progress, it is very slow. I'm worried that, with the amount of time that's passed, I may not get back my full range of motion. (I'm 70 years old…). I'm really working at it, and I'm starting to see some progress, but it's very slow. If I concentrate, I can walk normally but my steps are pretty short. I know everyone's different but how much time should I expect before I might be able to have my range of motion at least somewhat back to normal? As you might imagine, the ankle is very very stiff. Kind of disheartening…but I'm not giving up. Thanks again.

  4. Hi Docs! What's the typical/average timeframe of rehab for a fractured ankle? I broke my ankle 7 weeks ago and should start physio next week. I didn't need surgery, no ligamennts were torn, clean straight brake. Thanks!

  5. There is not a link for their products as they stated in the video.  I have noticed this on their other videos also.

  6. Awesome video. I'm recovering from an anterior talofibilar ligament sprain of the left ankle. I'm going to physical therapy. Any advice about exercises that I can do to be able to wear high heels again. Incidentally, I sprained my anterior talofibilar ligament of my left ankle wearing flats, lol.

  7. Thank you for this video. My ankle started feeling weak, and I don't recall injuring it. Will try these exercises.

  8. Bob and Brad – you two are my PT Heros! Thank you for posting your videos and keeping me so well informed! You provide such helpful tips, exercises and you both are just SO DANG FUNNY!!! So between you two…who's the Mary and who's the Rhoda? heeheehee

  9. I'm 3wks post-op from ORIF of my ankle. I fx tibia, fibula and talus bones after I fainted. I was having PT but the Dr stopped it until 8 wk post-op bc he said he didn't order it yet, Idk. He wants me to do passive ROM myself. I'm a nurse but now I'm a scaredey-cat.
    I don't exactly know what to do. I think I'm afraid of falling again or the pain or both. I feel like I can't move or flex my foot. It seems just frozen. I'm trying to Dorsi-flex and extend but it feels like I can't move it or I'm afraid too. I do have a moderate amt of swelling, I'm still iceing. Do u recommend iceing 3wks out? Some ppl say it causes more issues ?!?. Can u recommend what I should start w/ in-regards to Passive ROM. I'm still NWB but Dr told me to start moving my foot on my own & he will order PT next month. Plse help. Thank you Judy

  10. I can't do beetwen right leg to left leg your video 9:15 minutes. What am i problem? Glutes, hip, ITband, ankle…
    Thanks.

  11. hello,
    thank you for the video.
    I have a query..
    I had ankle sprain 3.5 weeks back, and i Have been Using RICE technique. Now, that there is no pain and i can just move my ankle forward and backward and also walk slowly…
    I tried to move by ankle side ways (as shown on 5:01 of this video), it still pains sharply on the ankle…
    so i was in doubt if my ankle has not recovered properly, and can i go for these therapies or should I again go for another round of check up and Xray?

  12. I broke my ankle in 3 places did 6 weeks after surgery cast is off ..My big toe gives me trouble to move it’s very stiff ..Still walk with a limp Any thoughts on what i should do

  13. Dear BoB and Brad,Thank you for your post and I greatly enjoyed watching them.  Keep up the good work!I had my left ankle fracture for about 11 weeks now and I dislike using the cam boot as suggested by the doctor (with 50% partial weight after 6 weeks).  I have a few questions here to ask if that's ok:1. Do you think it is ok not to use the cam boot?  2. I started walking with or without crutches (@ week 8) but everytime I move my leg make a "click" sound – is this normal?Many thanksRegards,Emelia

  14. What if i sprung my ankle multiple times in last 4 years (last time 1 year ago)? When i try this exercises i feel stinging pain on the sides of my ankle. My ligaments aren't torn i checked it with the doctor. The doctor said that my joint capsule was torn but it healed. He also said that i will feel this pain for the rest of my life :(. What should i do ?

  15. I have Charcot foot. I was in a total contact cast for twelve weeks and recently transitioned to a crow boot. Can I do these exercises. I cannot bear weight so it’s only going to be the sitting down for now. I’m told I’ll wear the crow boot 6-12 months

  16. Who sang that song at the beginning of the video? I like the music. By the way, did doctor Bob and Brad sing it when they were young or did they hire a young man to sing it for them? And I'm looking for ankle rehab exercises for my grandmother who had an ankle surgery and is now on a bed rest. I will tell her to try the exercise you showed. I wish she'll soon recover!

  17. I fractured my ankle (lateral malleolus) last July. It did not require a surgery because the ankle bones were in alignment, and it healed well. I was already jogging about three months after the fracture. By December my ankle was completely fine. Or so I thought.

    Last January I made a couple interval sprinting sessions and since then my ankle has been a mess. I cannot walk with it long distances and it always feels stiff and weak. It feels like something is wrong with my ankle, I just feel and sense it.

    I had an MRI in the late February and it revealed that I had a tear in Syndesmosis and Medial ligaments. And I had a partial split tear in my peroneal brevis tendon. My ortho thinks that it should not require a surgery though.

    Do you think I caused more damage to my ankle in January when I made those interval sprinting sessions?

    I have tried to rehab my ankle lately with many kinds of different programs, but my ankle just gets aggravated. Rest improves things somewhat, but once I start to walk and rehab more the stiffness, mild pain and feeling of "something not being right" in my ankle instantly returns.

    I'm getting a bit desperate with this situation. What should I do?

  18. This is a great tutorial! I'm 4 years post ankle fracture and dislocation (w. ORIF and PT). I have some residual neuropathy and occasional balance issues, so I will be using these exercises as a tune up. Thanks for sharing.

  19. The moment when you don’t listen to your orthopedic and have repetitive sprained ankles to go to PT. I have gone twice and every time they say I need PT. Now I’m in college and I’ve rolled my ankle at least 3 times this year.

  20. I’m doing the Abcs without being weight bearing. Feels so weird. But easier to do with my leg on a bed or couch. When it’s dangling, my leg always always to move around with my ankle.

  21. Ok so what about fused ankles? I was told due to my fused ankle. I should not walk to exercise. I am really struggling on what to do for shoes due to right leg being shorter than left. In addition what exercises I can do due to hip bone issues.

  22. hello there ✋ thank you so much for this . I wuld just like to ask if when is the right time to do dis rehabilitation?

  23. hello, I really hope you can answer my question. I sprained my ankle 7 weeks ago and it turn out to be complete tear of of atfl. my doctor has sent to me to physio I just wonder is there any hope for me to get back to playing basketball after I recover ? can I back to playing only by physio and without surgery?

  24. I broke my ankle 8 weeks ago and have been given the all clear by the consultant. My ankle feels fine but all the pain comes from my heal and toes. Would this just be from the ligaments and all the stiffening? and with these exercises will they all loosen and the pain go.

  25. Thanks , these exercises are a much after 14 weeks of an ankle sprain, they really loosen up my ankle bones that were so stiff, if a person doesn’t stretch all those ankle bones , ligaments, etc , the aching will not go away….you two guys really show how to stretch….

  26. Love you videos! Question on the “dance move” with the cane – (zig zag). How do you limit the external rotation of the hip so you are focusing on the eversion aspect of the ankle joint?
    Big fan! Thank you!
    ~Mike

  27. Hi Bob, Brad, and the PT community! Sorry to bother, I was wondering whether anyone could share any suggestions regarding my current foot struggles. I've been struggling with peroneal tendonitis (went to a podiatrist for this diagnosis) for 9 weeks after walking around in high heels (stupid I know, since then I've donated all my non-flats) for a few hours. I've been wearing a boot to walk for about 5 weeks, in conjunction with anti-inflammatory meds, msm, and stretching exercises at home. I rely heavily on a heating pad for relief instead of ice, as I have Raynaud's phenomena. I've been careful for the most part, but the first two weeks I didn't realize that I majorly injured my foot, so I walked on and off. The last 7 weeks I've been very conservative in treatment. Any suggestions? I'm really upset. I'm a student with 2 jobs and my stress relief is going for walks, which I have not done in almost 2 months.
    Thank you in advance if anyone has suggestions!

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