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ankle rehabilitation (exercises and tips)

Ankle pain can be acute of chronic, usually affecting the outside of the ankle.

The main goal of most people after an ankle injury is to get back to the activities that they enjoy, and this is where ankle rehabilitation is vital.

Keep reading for some family- friendly ankle rehabilitation exercises!

Ankle injuries should be assessed by a professional prior to completing rehabilitation as the injury may be more involved or serious than it appears, occasionally X- ray, Ultrasound and/or MRI scans are required to fully assess the nature of the injury.

Ankle pain can originate from many sources including:

- inadequate/unsupportive/old footwear

- activity changes

- osteoporosis

- chronic ankle instability

- traumatic injury - some medications

- foot position changes with age/growth

- other injury where the ankle compensates

If the ankle has been clinically assessed, rehabilitation will be planned which depends heavily on the nature of the injury.

Ankle Rehabilitation allows the nerves to re-establish a connection to the central nervous system which allows the muscles and tendons to strengthen.
Strengthening the muscles and tendons allows for protection of the ankle joint and the ability of increased load through activity to be tolerated without pain.

Ankle rehabilitation exercises include several different stages from non weight-bearing to fully weight-bearing and dynamic movements. At the beginning of rehabilitation, non weight-bearing exercises should be commenced.

Exercises should always be pain- free.

Some popular Ankle Rehabilitation exercises include:

- Alphabet tracing

- non weight-bearing Theraband exercises

- Massage to the calves/outsides of the legs

- Calf stretching

- Star Excursion Balance Test

- Heel raises

- Single Leg balance

- Hopping

Exercises for the ankles should only be commenced after assessment with your Podiatrist of healthcare professional. Your Podiatrist can assess your ankle and give you details of the correct rehabilitation exercises specifically for your injury.

Correct assessment, discussion and direction is vital for resolution of ankle pain as incorrect load can result in more substantial injuries.


1. Single Leg Balance with ball throwing: - stand on one leg and balance while throwing a ball to a partner (or against a wall if home alone). This exercise improves proprioception and ankle strength while standing still. This is a great activity to do with people of all ages.

2. Star Balance:

- Draw a star (around 45-1m wide) with chalk on the ground and stand in the middle of the star with one leg. With the other leg, reach out and touch the points of the star with your toes. This exercise improves strength, flexibility and proprioception whilst being a fun challenge.

3. Alphabet Tracing:

- sit on the couch/a chair with your ankles free. Gently trace letters in the air using your feet. You can spell out a word! This exercise improves Range of Motion and is great to do before getting out of bed in the morning or after a long day at a desk. This can occasionally help with first step pains!

Rehabilitating your injured ankle is never too late!

Acute and chronic ankle injuries can be assisted by rehabilitation as muscle strengthening is beneficial at any age/stage and you can start helping your ankles now.

If your ankle pain persists, therapies such as Shockwave, Laser, Ultrasound, Interferential and dry needling may be utilised for accelerated assistance with acute and chronic injuries based on the person's individual injury.

If you have any questions about ankle rehabilitation, please contact us/come in and say hi!

Ph. 03 8648 7678

108 Bridport st Albert Park Vic, Australia


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