What are the exercises to strengthen muscles after ankle sprains?
Q: I am feeling very frustrated with my body because it keeps getting injured. I recently suffered an inversion ankle injury on my left ankle by landing on some ones foot while playing basketball. The summer before that I suffered a sprain on my right ankle as I landed inward as well but on an angle (so the upper part of my foot hit the ground first before the heel), and I felt a little pop/crack. I am guessing my left ankle was just a stretch of the ligaments while my right ankle got torn ligaments (I didn't go see a doctor because I sprained my right ankle a couple of times before, and have looked up many things about ankle injuries on the Internet). Anyways, my questions pertain to the healing process and factors in the process. I don't think my right ankle has fully healed yet (even though I continue to do exercises like calf-raises and squats on the right ankle, and balancing on one-leg with my eyes closed). Since I suffered the injury to my left-ankle, will this slow down the healing process on my right ankle, and will it make the left-ankle take longer than normal to heal? Should I do exercises on just my left-ankle now, or continue to do exercises on my right-ankle as well? I have also been working out a little (like doing pushups, crunches, weight-training, and skipping) because I want to stay in shape, is this ok?
A:The best exercises for strengthening after ankle sprains are not calf raises or squats. They are peroneal strengthening exercises that can be taught to you by a physical therapist. Its typically done with your leg supported, your foot hanging on a bench, strip weights attached to your foot, and doing eversion exercises against resistance to strengthen your peroneal muscles. A study done at the University of Vermont has shown that no sports, no running or squats can strengthen your peroneal muscles, which are required to support your ligaments. Only specific exercise - like the one I mentioned would help prevent re-injury.