-Prolonged immobilization is a common treatment error with ankle sprains. As mentioned before, while inflammation often interferes with mobility, the balance between mobility and stability is KEY.
-Demonstrated here is a passive stretch into dorsiflexion in a non-weight bearing position that can be implemented within 48-72 hours after injury. First I demonstrate this stretch with the knee in extension, which biases the gastrocnemius. Next, the knee is put in a flexed position, which biases the soleus, due to the gastrocnemius being put on slack.
-Once weight bearing is tolerable, it is appropriate to progress to a more aggressive stretch like the one shown here. The slant will bias your foot into dorsiflexion. The same idea is applied here as when the foot is on flat ground: with knee extension, you will primarily stretch the gastrocnemius. During knee flexion, you will primarily stretch the soleus.
-Parameters here include a pain-free stretch of 15-30 seconds for 10 sets, 3-5 X/day after an ankle sprain. However if you are an individual simply attempting to gain dorsiflexion range of motion without a history of acute ankle sprain, you can hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds at 2 sets, 1X/day. -Once range of motion is achieved and swelling/pain are under control, you can begin a strengthening routine, which will be discussed in the next few posts.
Citation: “immobilization for acute ankle sprain: a systematic review.” By: Kerkhoffs et al.