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Home Tips for Reducing Ankle Pain

Friday - April 17th - 2020

Activity breaks are vital to maintaining your health and well-being. Exercise helps raise your energy levels, clear your head and release mood-boosting endorphins. There are plenty of ways to be active at home. The important thing is to get up and get moving—safely.

Whenever you’re on your feet, your ankles support the weight of your entire body. They help you move with stability and control. Ankles are prone to injuries from trauma and overuse, especially if your activities include running, jumping, sudden changes in direction or moving on uneven surfaces.

Ankles are prone to injuries from trauma and overuse

Ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis are among the most common causes of ankle-related pain and instability. Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint also may cause symptoms.

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Helping to treat ankle pain at home

For mild ankle sprains and strains, treatment aid with the RICE method is the first step:

  • Rest: Stay off the ankle as much as possible for the first 24 to 48 hours.
  • Ice: Apply ice or other cold therapy to the painful area for 20-30 minutes several times a day. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin; wrap the ice in a towel or pad or use a cold therapy device.
  • Compression: Wear a brace or wrap that fits snugly without cutting off circulation.
  • Elevation: Raise the ankle above heart level when seated or lying down to help with swelling.

Most types of tendonitis also can be treated at home with rest and ice. After the pain has subsided, stretching and strengthening weak tendons can help prevent future injury.

If your ankle is severely painful or swollen or does not improve within a few days, consider contacting your physician.

Wear a brace for support

An ankle brace can help provide support and protection while you recover. The type of brace you need depends on your injury and your lifestyle. DJO offers a variety of bracing types to meet your specific needs including:

  • Daily use/mild support: If you are recovering from an ankle injury or have chronic mild ankle instability, these braces help provide compression and stability during everyday activities. They typically come in the form of sleeves or wrap-arounds.
  • Moderate/maximum support: These are ideal for more significant ankle sprains or stabilizing the ankle during sports that involve jumping or lateral movements. Moderate support ankle braces typically provide support through laces that secure the brace or straps that go around the foot and ankle, and often have stays on the side to help prevent ankle rolls. Maximum support braces feature semi-rigid shells along your ankle to help prevent further injury while allowing normal movement.
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Rehab at home

Exercises that stretch and strengthen the ankle can reduce recovery time for mild and moderate sprains and improve ligament stability. The following exercises can help with rehabilitation. If any exercise causes discomfort, skip it.

  • ABCs: Sit with your foot hanging off the edge of a table or propped up on pillows so the ankle is in the air. Then trace each letter of the alphabet with your toes. This will encourage movement and range of motion in all directions.
  • Dorsiflexion stretch: Sit in a chair with your foot on the ground and place a rolled-up towel in the ball of your foot. Gently pull back on both ends of the towel, bringing your toes toward you until you feel a light painless stretch. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then repeat 3 to 5 times.
  • Eversion/inversion: Sit in a chair and place a hand towel on the floor. With your heel on the ground, lift your foot, turn it inward, place it on the towel, then slide the towel outward. Repeat this until you have gone the entire length of the towel. Then stretch the towel out on the other side and repeat in the opposite direction.
  • Heel raises: If weight bearing is tolerated, stand on the edge of a step with a railing to hold for balance. Push off your toes to raise your heels, then lower heels back to the start position. Repeat exercise 15 to 20 times.

Get back to activity

When you’re back on your feet without pain, ease into activity. Take breaks throughout the day to do an online workout video, play games with the kids in the yard, Tackle your list of house projects.

An ankle brace can help prevent instability and injury during activities. Let us help you find the right brace for your back at a DJO select retailer or online at Better Braces. Use the Brace Advisor or chat with one of our experts.

*Please follow the government issued guidelines specific to you.

The contents of this article were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary depending on a variety of patient-specific attributes and related factors.