Chiropractic Articles

Ankle Rehab for Spains and Strains


If you have recently or have ever sprained your ankle, you know how painful and discouraging it can be. If you have recently sprained your ankle, it’s imperative you rehab it correctly because the scar tissue formed in and around the ankle joints can lead to chronic problems and reoccurring sprains if not addressed.

I personally have sprained my ankle at least 5 times while running in the woods and tripped on a tree root. Usually it involves an inversion and plantar flexion motion of the ankle like so;

It’s really important we follow these simple procedures that I commonly talk about with every injury, so we can heal optimally.  First and foremost we always want to reduce inflammation and that begins with a proper diet.  So we want to pull out sugars and grains which are highly inflammatory.  If your eating any prepacked foods or snacks, those are the hydrogenated oils (trans fats) that we want to get rid of. The optimal ratio for omega-6 to omega-3 fats is about 1:1 up to 5:1 but most people are eating 20:1 so we want to get as close as we can to that optimal ratio. So be sure to consume high quality fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and omega 3 fats found in wild caught salmon. Last key principle with reducing inflammation is making sure we change the meat that we eat.  So getting rid of grain fed meats and getting organic grass fed meat as much as possible and loading our diet with phytonutrient rich vegetables and antioxidant rich foods.  That’s a key aspect with reducing inflammation which is going to help every part of our body, especially joints function and heal better.

Supplement Talk:

Enzymes, enzymes, enzymes. I’m talking about Wobenzyme from Gardens of Life.  This is actually systemic enzymes that get into different systems of our body and actually break down metabolic waste that leads to muscle pain and joint pain. This is great for recovering from injuries or if you’re just an athlete. This will ultimately help speed up your recovery and benefits your performance.  The key with systemic enzymes is to take them in between meals so the enzymes break down metabolic waste and inflammation rather than your food.

So it’s anti-inflammatory, helps reduce pain in your body, also great for your immune system.

Another supplement I love is Astaxanthin. This is actually what gave Salmon their pink color.  Wild Salmon are one of the strongest creatures on the planet. They literally can swim upstream and jump against the current. And what gives them this powerful strength is actually this antioxidant asked the Astaxanthin. This is phenomenal for helping your body heal and helping your body recover from different injuries. Also great for your eyesight and brain function.

First thing you do when you injure your ankle is go threw something called R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)  First 2-3 days you want to do this.  After that 2-3 days you want to start getting some good motion in there, you can actually start during those 2-3 days

Non-weight bearing exercises:

Elevate the leg and dorsiflex and hold really strong for about 15 seconds.  Then relax holding said plantar flexion hold that for 15 seconds.  Then invert the foot hold that for 15 seconds then you hurt your foot and hold that for 15 seconds.  Some of those motions maybe restricted that’s perfectly normal just do your best to hold it into that motion is best you can then relax.

Usually by the second week you’re ready to get these exercises going:

  1.  Seated toe raises, partially weight bearing

toe raises

2.  Draw the alphabet with your toes, seated.

Alphabet fot

3.  Single leg stance holding on to something, for about 15 seconds then relax and repeat.

Single leg stance

If it’s a broken ankle usually by the 8th week we’re ready to go full weight bearing.  And you can really help build stability and balance in that ankle joint by standing on a wobble disc holding onto a chair and as we progress you can do it without the chair.

Dorsiflexion and Eversion Exercises for the ankle

Then full weight bearing toe raise.

toe raise

The goals with any rehab is to decrease swelling, increase functional ROM and strengthen to create stability in the joints so we prevent future problems.