Ankle Sprains: Get Back on Your Dancing Feet with Range of Motion Exercises

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Oh, dear! An ankle sprain is never a fun experience, especially when you’ve got places to go and people to see. But worry not; we’re here to help you bounce back and get your groove on in no time! With some easy range of motion exercises, you’ll be tap-dancing your way around town before you can say, “ankle sprain, who?” So, let’s chat about ankle sprains and how these exercises can help you recover like a champ.

Ankle sprains can put a damper on your daily activities, whether going for a walk with your best friend, gardening, or dancing the night away at your favorite social event. But don’t let that ankle sprain keep you down for too long! You still have plenty of pep in your step, and I am here to help you harness it with simple exercises.

These range of motion exercises will not only help you regain your ankle’s flexibility and strength, but they’ll also have you feeling more confident in your movements so that you can show off your best dance moves without any hesitation. Plus, think of all the fun stories you’ll have to share with your friends about your journey to recovery!

In this article, we’ll be discussing the ins and outs of ankle sprains, including the causes, symptoms, and benefits of the range of motion exercises for a faster recovery.

Ankle Sprains: A Slippery Slope

Ankle sprains can happen to the best of us, usually when we least expect it. Whether you’re chasing after your grandkids, dancing the night away, or simply taking a leisurely walk, an ankle sprain can sneak up on you. 

It occurs when the ligaments in your ankle get stretched or torn, typically from twisting or rolling your ankle. Ouch! It’s one of those things that makes you wonder, “Why didn’t I stick to doing the twist instead of trying out those fancy new dance moves?” But hey, life is full of surprises, and sometimes that means a little stumble here and there.

Symptoms of Ankle Sprains

If you’ve sprained your ankle, you might feel some pain, swelling, and bruising around the area. Moving your ankle or putting weight on it could also be tough. 

You might even think, “Why did I have to go and show off my dance moves? I should’ve just stayed on the sidelines!” But don’t worry; we’re going to help you get back in action!

Benefits of Range of Motion Exercises for Ankle Sprains

Now, let’s talk about the silver lining of this situation: range of motion exercises! These exercises are like a magic potion for your sprained ankle, helping to speed up your recovery and get you back on your feet. They work by improving the flexibility and mobility of your ankle, reducing swelling, and preventing stiffness. 

With regular practice, you’ll be able to dance to your heart’s content without your ankle slowing you down. So, let’s say goodbye to being a wallflower and hello to reclaiming the dance floor!

Range of Motion Exercises for Ankle Sprains

Alright, now that we’re motivated to get moving, let’s talk about some range of motion exercises that’ll help you recover from that pesky ankle sprain.

1. Ankle Pumps

demonstration of Ankle sprain exercise named Ankle Pumps shown by coach todd.
Ankle Pumps step 2
  • While sitting on your bed with the injured leg straight, roll a small towel just under your calf muscle. 
  • Start the movement by pointing your toe forward and then pulling it back toward your nose.
  • Cycle between these two positions for 10 reps and 3 sets.

2. Ankle Circles

ankle circle steo 1
ankle circle step 2
ankle circle step 3
  • Sit comfortably on a chair or bed with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your right foot off the ground and rotate your ankle in a circular motion.
  • Start with small circles and gradually make them larger.
  • Do 10 circles clockwise and then 10 circles counterclockwise.
  • Repeat the same movement with your left ankle.
  • Keep your movements slow and controlled, avoiding any sudden jerks or movements.
  • Perform the exercise in 3 sets.
  • Stop the exercise if you feel any pain or discomfort.

3. Ankle ABCs

Ankle ABC
  • Start by sitting in a chair or laying in bed with your ankle over the edge to allow for full ankle movement.
  • Write out each letter of the alphabet with just your ankle as though your big toe is a pencil.

Note: You will not have big movements, so many of us start to move our entire leg to write out the letters. Try just to move your ankle and keep your leg still.

4. Calf Stretch

Bent Leg Calf Stretch step 1
Bent Leg Calf Stretch step 2
  • Find a staircase with a railing and stand facing the staircase.
  • Hold onto the railing with both hands for support.
  • Step both feet up onto the first step of the staircase, with the injured heel hanging off the edge.
  • Slightly stagger your feet so the non-injured foot is on the step and the injured foot hangs off.
  • Keep your back leg straight and your front leg slightly bent.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds, feeling a stretch in your calf and heel.
  • Relax and step back down to the floor.
  • Repeat this exercise two more times for a total of three repetitions.

5. Ankle Inversion

Ankle Inversion step 1
Ankle Inversion step 2
  • Place one hand on the top of the foot, positioned on the forefoot near the toes.
  • Gently pull the foot and ankle into a plantar flexion stretch, then pull slightly inward to pull the foot towards you.
  • If the stretch is very intense at first, try holding for 5 seconds, then rest. Repeat 10x.
  • If the stretch is mild, try a longer hold time, anywhere from 30-60 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise two more times for a total of three repetitions.

6. Ankle Eversion

Ankle Eversion step 1
Ankle Eversion step 2
  • Place one hand on the bottom of the foot, over the ball of the foot.
  • Gently pull the foot and ankle back into dorsiflexion, then pull slightly outward, so the foot moves away from you.
  • If the stretch is very intense at first, try holding for 5 seconds, then rest. Repeat 10x.
  • If the stretch is mild, try a longer hold time, anywhere from 30-60 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise two more times for a total of three repetitions.


There you have it! With these range of motion exercises, you’ll be well on your way to recovering from that ankle sprain and getting back to your active, fun-filled life. 

Remember to take it slow and steady, listen to your body, and always consult a healthcare professional if you’re unsure about any exercises. Soon enough, you’ll be dancing circles around everyone on the dance floor, showing off your newfound ankle strength and flexibility. So, put on your dancing shoes, and let’s boogie our way to a sprain-free life!

Wondering What's Next?

Discover 11 Easy, At-Home “Stretch Exercises” for Stronger, Pain-Free Joints (click below)

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