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Ankle Sprain Rehab (Build Strength, Stability & Balance with 1 Exercise!)

Video Highlights

-- Assessing current ankle stability
-- How to adjust the level of threat with a band
-- How to help the ankle with the opposite hand

Hi. I’m Dr. Eric Cobb with Z-Health Performance. 

We are continuing on our ankle rehab series. And today, we’re going to talk about kind of the end version of working on ankle sprain rehabilitation. 

This is one of my favorite little exercise series to have people go through. 

For this one, you’re gonna need a band that you can attach at a low point off to the side. 

And I also recommend that you grab a massage tool, some kind of something that vibrates because we’re gonna use a little bit of brain activity here to improve our balance. 

So the ankle sprain that is most common is called an inversion sprain. 

Typically, I’m running along. I catch my toe. and my ankle goes out to the side. 

And that’s when you get the big, you know, tennis ball, golf ball size swelling on the outside of your ankle. usually, there’s some ligamentous tearing. 

So the rehab process is going to be critical. 

So we’ve already gone through in previous episodes of the blog, different things about mobilizing the ankle, warming the ankle up, beginning to create better dorsiflexion, better plantar flexion, what I wanna talk about today is improving balance and then integration of movement. 

And I’m gonna show you a couple of different ways to do this. 

So what I want you to start off with. I would if you have an ankle sprain you’re recovering from, I want you to begin this on the opposite side. 

So let’s imagine that I’ve sprained my right ankle I’m gonna learn the exercise on my less compromised side, so I’m gonna start with my left. 

Now, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna keep one foot on the ground and we’re just gonna simply reach down to the ground and then we’re gonna turn and look behind us. Alright? 

So it is a rotation toward the side of compromise. and then up and away. 

If it is difficult for you to do that with just a toe, you can do it with a whole foot on the ground and you can just reach down, up and away. 

Now, I want you to compare that to the side that is in rehab or recovering. 

And again, you’re just gonna go down, look up at way and just see how stable the ankle feels. 

The ultimate goal is to first do this with a foot flat or comfortably on the floor than just up on one toe and then eventually work toward doing that same motion with the foot in the air. 

So this is a single leg exercise that’s involving a lot of rotation, which is gonna require a lot of stability of you in the ankle. 

So the progression I like to have people do is kind of simple because what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna use a band to support the injured side first, and then we’ll go to neutral, and then we’ll challenge the injured side as you improve. 

So now just because of how my band is set up, we have to reverse what I was saying. 

So we’re going to imagine that my left ankle is the one that I sprained. Remember this is an inversion sprain where my ankle snapped to the outside. 

So I’m gonna first set up the band is gonna be off to my right and I’m gonna pull it and I’m gonna wrap it around the ankle, but you can see because it’s off to my right and it’s attached to the outside of my left ankle, it’s actually helping me stay stable. 

In other words, it’s pulling me away from the ankle sprain position. 

So once I have that band in place, we would do the exercise that we were just going through, reaching down, rotating away. 

The way that I’m gonna now hopefully improve this for you is I want you to now grab your massage tool. You’re gonna hold the tool. You’re gonna turn it on. Make sure it’s vibrating. 

This is our favorite little handheld massager from Jawku. and I’m gonna hold it in the hand opposite the foot that I’m balancing on. 

So if my left foot is on the ground, that’s what I’m trying to balance on, I’m gonna use the tool in my right hand. 

So I’m gonna hold up my right hand, and I’m gonna go through my exercise. And again, the band is helping support me. 

So in essence, this is probably the safest version of the exercise because the band is preventing me from inverting. 

And I’m using this tool, very simply put I hold it in my right hand, it drives a lot of sensory input to the left side of my brain, which helps stabilize the left side of my body. 

So I have kind of everything working in my favor now. to hopefully be able to do this exercise very comfortably, and I can begin to get some repetitions in. 

You wanna do high numbers of repetitions twenty to thirty reps if you can manage that, but you’re just gonna do it to fatigue. 

Now after you’ve done this version, you’re gonna simply take the band off. and you’d repeat, and this is not in the same day or maybe even the same training session, but maybe over the course of a week, you’re then gonna progress to doing that same exercise. including the vibration tool without any band support at all. Okay? 

So step one, use the band support step two, get rid of the band, do it without any support. Step three then is going to be to challenge the ankle. 

Now in order to do this, We have to reverse my feet again because of where the band is at. 

So now we’re imagining that I sprained my right ankle. Inversion sprain my right ankle shot out to the right. 

If I apply the same rules, that means I’m gonna have to switch the massage tool to my left hand, but I’m now gonna go back to my band. Remember, this is the end of the sequence. 

This is a harder version. So now, the band is gonna be looped in such a way that it would be pulling me into a sprain position. 

So again, the end of your rehab. because now we’re trying to control the actual movement that caused the injury in the first place. 

So now that I have the band trying to pull me into inversion, I’m gonna have to work even harder to not have that occur. 

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I’ll go back to my basic versions, keeping the foot on the ground, keeping the toe on the ground, and then hopefully elevating the foot, while I have the band attached. 

So this progression for most people, as they’re going through ankle rehabilitation, should be looked at as say, a four to maybe eight-week process to really build up enough repetitions and enough strength to get to this particular point. 

But I think that you’ll find as you do this, it’s going to significantly improve your balance as you go through the rehab phase. 

So you should start to notice that as you’re walking as you’re getting back into your more normal activities. So like I said, end-stage, don’t start with this right away. 

Do some of the other stuff first, but I think you’ll find this extremely effective. 

Last but not least, if you don’t have an ankle sprain and you’re just trying to improve athletic performance, these are great balance exercises that you can use in a variety of ways to challenge and improve your ankle, foot, knee, and hip control. 

So give them a shot. Let us know what you think. Thanks.

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