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What can I do at home for a sprained ankle?

After the first three days of ice application, start applying heat and ice alternately on the injured ankle. Use an ice pack or an ice water bath for 10 minutes; then, use a hot bath (preferable method) or a heating pad for 10 minutes; and then apply ice again for 10 minutes. Do this two to three times per day.

The following exercises will help strengthen and stretch your ankle. Exercises should be started as soon as you are able to bear weight on the injured ankle. When you can jump on the injured ankle 10 times without feeling any pain, you will be ready to return to normal activities. Each set of exercises should be done at least twice daily.

These exercises require the use of a band. An old necktie, stocking or belt will work.

1. Sit on the floor.
  • Stretch your leg out straight. Loop a band around the foot. Slowly point the toes and ankle away from you. Hold for two seconds. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  • Bend the knee, leaving your heel on the floor. Loop a band around the foot. Slowly point the toes and ankle away from you. Hold for two seconds. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
 These exercises can be done during the heat phase of the cold-heat-cold application.

2. Sit in a chair.
  • Hold out your foot, and pretend to write the alphabet in the air with your toes.
  • Draw 10 circles in one direction and 10 in the opposite direction with the toes of the injured foot.
  • Place your foot on the floor and press the outside of your ankle against the inside of the chair leg. Hold for eight seconds and then relax. Repeat three times.
  • Place your foot on the floor and press the inside of your ankle against the outside of the chair leg. Hold for eight seconds and then relax. Repeat three times.
 Do these exercises every one to two hours.

3. Stand on the floor while holding on to the back of a chair for support.
  • Keep your knees straight and your toes forward. Rock back on your heels, pull your toes upward and then slowly lower your toes back to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
  • Keep your knees straight and your toes forward. Rise onto the balls of your feet and slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
  • Keep your knees straight and your toes angled inward. Rise onto the balls of your feet and slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
  • Keep your knees straight and your toes angled outward. Rise onto the balls of your feet and slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat 10 times.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.