Ankle Stiffness; How to Fix it After a Sprain

A pretty common thing we hear after a sprain is ankle stiffness. The feeling of just not being able to move it well. So how do we fix it? 

What is a sprain and why does it cause ankle stiffness

  • A sprain is anytime you’ve overstretched a ligament causing damage to it
  • The best way to overcome this is to strengthen the muscles around the ankle so they don’t rely just on the ligaments for support

The only issue is people say they ankle feel “tight” or “stiff” so building back to that range of motion is also important but how do we do that? Well here Christina talks about some steps for loosening up that ankle.

How it works;

  • Loop a thick band around the bottom of a stable surface that won’t be pulled over
  • Bring your foot out so that there is tension on the band (its also important that the band is across the joint line)
  • Now bend and straighten (keeping your whole foot on the ground) 
    • Feeling a pinch here is pretty normal
  • Come back and forth 10-15 times everyday 

Things to avoid:

  • Letting your foot come off of the ground 
    • more specifically if your heel starts to come up off of the ground you’re not actually increasing flexion of the ankle anymore so its not doing the mechanisms we’re looking for
  • Avoid letting your knee come inside of your toes
    • Make sure that your foot is coming out over your toes or even slightly towards the inside 
    • letting your knee travel inside of your toes can cause some added stress on your meniscus which isn’t what we’re looking for either

Keeping working on this one as it takes time to build range of motion back and definitely doesn’t occur quickly. If you have had an ankle sprain check out this article here for building some strength but hopefully this can clear up some of that ankle stiffness you may been feeling after a sprain.


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Christina Prevett