ELEVATION AND MOTION EXERCISES FOR ANKLE SPRAINS GOALS: 1. Prevent/eliminate swelling of your sprained ankle. A. With compression (donuts, sock and ASO brace), elevation and motion exercises. 2. Regain full motion of your ankle equal to that of your other ankle. A. With motion exercises--to perform the exercises, the straps of the ASO brace must be loose. NOTE: During the first 24 hours: (1) keep your sprained ankle constantly elevated higher than your heart, and (2) repeatedly perform the motion exercises--to perform the exercises, the straps of your ASO brace must be loose. How does elevating my ankle help and what is the most effective method to elevate my ankle? Elevation of your ankle expedites the elimination of the swelling, with the maximum benefits resulting from the ankle being elevated higher than your heart. The most effective way to maintain your injured ankle elevated higher than your heart is to "permanently" elevate the end of your bed by placing a large pillow or other object at the foot of your bed between your mattress and box spring. Elevation combined with motion exercises* expedite the elimination of the swelling. Why do I need to perform the motion exercises* and when do I start doing them? The motion exercises contribute to the treatment of your ankle sprain in two ways: (1) the motion of the ankle helps "pump" the swelling from your ankle, especially when your ankle is elevated and (2) the motion exercises enable you to regain the amount of ankle motion you had prior to spraining your ankle. The sooner you start the exercises, the sooner your will regain full motion of your ankle. Each time you perform the exercises, use pain as your guideline, i.e., perform only the amount of motion that you can do pain free. The more times you perform the exercises, with or without elevation, the sooner you will regain full motion of you ankle. Figures 1a. and 1b. show the first of the two motion exercises. The first exercise is the same as repeatedly pushing your foot down on a gas pedal of a car as far as you can and pulling it back up as far as you can. Figures 1c. and 1d. show the second motion exercise. With this exercise, keep your heel still and move your forefoot with the motion as that of a windshield wiper of a car, i.e., keep your heel still and repeatedly move your forefoot in and up as far as you can and then out and up as far as you can. Use pain as your guideline for both exercises. Figure 1a Figure 1b Figure 1c Figure 1d The goals are: (1) to have minimal or no swelling evident and (2) to regain full motion of your sprained ankle equal to that of your other ankle. The "proof" that you have regained full motion of your sprained ankle is when you can move the forefoot of your sprained ankle [(1) down, (2) up, (3) in and up, and (4) out and up] the same amount that you can move the forefoot of your other ankle. **Patients who actively participate in a comprehensive treatment program that emphasizes appropriate compression, constant elevation of their ankle higher than their heart and "massive" repetitions of the motion exercises during the first 24 hours, routinely exhibit minimal or no swelling and full ankle motion in just 24 hours. **Start the strengthening exercises to prevent recurrent ankle sprains as soon as you have enough motion to do them.