How to Strengthen Your Ankle After a Sprain
An ankle sprain should be immediately treated with the “rice” technique. Rest, ice, compression and elevation to help avoid further injury to the ankle. After a few days of this treatment, however, the ankle is usually recovered enough to begin strengthening efforts. Here’s how to strengthen a sprained ankle in the days soon after the sprain occurs.
Adjust Your Diet
Frist, adjust your food and beverage intake so that your body gets all the nutrients it needs to heal the ankle. Avoid alcoholic drinks, as they delay the healing process of most injuries. Meanwhile, increase your intake of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C and vitamin D. All of these nutrients will help your body recover more quickly.
Some good foods to eat that have many of these nutrients include the following:
- dairy products
- lean red meat
- nut and seeds
- salmon and sardines
- dark green vegetables
Push Against Furniture
Second, start strengthening exercises by using a piece of furniture to do some basic resistance training. A couch, love seat or large armchair works well.
Place the injured foot alongside the furniture, and point the toes outward and upward. Press with your foot against the furniture like this for 10 seconds. Then, release and repeat with the toes pointed inward and downward.
Use a Resistance Band
Third, move to a resistance band if the exercises with the furniture go well. A resistance band is used in the same fashion, by pushing against it for 10 seconds at a time and then changing positions. You can use a resistance band in several ways:
- place it against the bottom of your foot and push down
- place it on the top of your foot and push up
- place it on either side of your foot and push against the band
These latter two exercises require affixing the resistance band to a post, chair leg, doorway or other object that will hold it in place. Alternatively, a friend can hold it for you.
Seek Medical Treatment
Ultimately, the fastest way to strengthen an ankle sprain is to seek treatment from a medical professional. If you’ve sprained your ankle, make an appointment with someone who can assess the ankle and prescribe a personalized strengthening regimen.