How do I stretch my ankle after a sprain?

After the initial pain and swelling from your ankle sprain have subsided (usually within 5-7 days) and you can tolerate weight on your foot, you can begin stretching exercises in stages. The goal of these exercises is to restore your ankle's range of motion.

Once ankle range of motion has been almost or completely restored, you must strengthen your ankle. Along with strengthening, you should work toward a feeling of stability and comfort in your ankle, which foot and ankle ankle orthopaedic specialists call proprioception.

Perform the following home exercises twice a day to stretch your ankle.

Exercise #1

  1. While seated, bring your ankle and foot all the way up as much as you can.

  2. Do this slowly, while feeling a stretch in your calf.

  3. Hold this for a count of 10.

  4. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle Stretching Exercise 1

Exercise #2

  1. From the seated starting position, bring your ankle down and in.

  2. Hold this inverted position for a count of 10.

  3. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle stretching exercise

Exercise #3

  1. Again from the starting seated position, bring your ankle up and out.

  2. Hold this everted position for a count of 10.

  3. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle Stretching Exercise

Exercise #4

  1. From the starting seated position, point your toes down and hold this position for a count of 10.

  2. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle Stretching Exercise

Exercise #5

This stretch should be done only when the pain in your ankle has subsided significantly.

  1. While standing on the edge of a stair, drop your ankles down and hold this stretched position for a count of 10.

  2. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle stretching exercise

Exercise #6

This stretch should be done only when the pain in your ankle has subsided significantly.

  1. Stand 12 inches from a wall with your toes pointing toward the wall.

  2. Squat down and hold this position for a count of 10.

  3. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle stretching exercise

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images, and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the "Find a Surgeon" search to locate a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon in your area.