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Ankle Sprain Return to Sport Tests

Did you sprain your ankle and are you not sure if you are ready to return back to basketball?

     We got you covered in this article! We will go over three simple tests that you NEED to pass to safely return back to basketball. We use several other tests to ensure your ability to return to basketball, but these 3 would be the bare minimum to even consider doing basketball related activities.

Why Do You NEED To Pass These Test?

     These tests are important in reducing your risk for any future ankle sprains. Did you know that once you sprain your ankle once, you are 4.9 times more likely to sprain it again? We believe that the risk for future ankle sprains comes from athletes not doing their rehab. Studies have shown that 55% of athletes do not seek medical attention for their ankle injury!

     The tests will cover mobility, strength and performance of the ankle. Take a look at our YouTube Channel, IG/Tiktok, and other blog posts if you need additional help, and take a look at your 5-phase ankle sprain return to sport program! Also, check out our previous blog on why rehab is important following an ankle sprain!

Test 1: Knee To Wall Test - Ankle Mobility

     One of the most important tests you have to pass is having adequate ankle mobility, specifically ankle dorsiflexion. If you don’t have adequate ankle mobility you may increase your risk for any potential future ankle injuries. One of the best ways we like to measure ankle mobility is the knee to wall test. This is one of the easiest tests because all you need is a tape measure/ruler and a wall. The goal of this test is to compare your ankle mobility to your other side. We want to be within 2cm of the other side before considering going back to playing basketball. Check out the video below on instructions on how to perform this test.

Test 2: Single Leg Heel Raise Test - Strength Endurance

     In the prior test we looked at ankle mobility, and in this test we will address ankle strength and endurance. One of the most important muscles to test for strength is the calf musculature. The calf musculature is composed of two muscles the gastrocnemius and the soleus, which both attach to the achilles tendon.

     When it comes to basketball, calf strength is very key for all basketball activities and is essential in creating achilles tendon stiffness. One way we like to test your strength is through the single leg heel raise test. We will test how many calf raises you can do on one leg.

     The keys with this test is to maintain straightness of the knee, go as high as possible, keep weight through the 1st-3rd toes, and control the movement. The goal is to perform as many reps on both legs, but at least 85% compared to the other side before considering returning back to basketball.

Test 3: Lateral Line Hop Test - Ankle Plyometrics/Performance

     The two previous tests addressed ankle mobility and strength. This test focuses more on performance via low intensity plyometrics. The goal of this test is to see if the ankle/foot is ready for repeated hops, especially in the lateral plane of movement. This test only requires a stick/rope or something to jump over and a stopwatch.

     The goal is to perform as many repeated hops as possible during a certain amount of time. You want to be able to do the same amount of reps on both legs or at least 85%  compared to the other side before considering returning back to basketball.


Those were just 3 tests that we chose of the many other tests that we utilize to make the best decision to return to playing basketball. These 3 test could be done easily at home with minimal equipment and cover 3 main components of the ankle that need to be as close to the non-injured leg to make sure you are ready to safely return back to basketball. If you are dealing with ankle pain or need help with rehab feel free to reach out to us or check out our program.

Additional Resources

$ 39
One Time Payment
  • 4-Week Program; 5 Training Days per Week
  • 100+ Detailed Step-By-Step Video Exercises
  • Bonus Week (Week 0) For Recent (<5 Days) Ankle Sprains
  • PDF Resources to Help Keep You On Track
  • Lifetime Access
$ 59
One Time Payment
  • 2 Main Phases: 1) Build the Foundation; 2) Sport Specific Training
  • 6-Week Total; 5-Training Days Per Week
  • Checkpoints & Objective Tests Throughout the Program and to Track Your Progress
  • Developed by Doctors of Physical Therapy and Backed by a Fellow-Trained Foot/Ankle Specialists
  • 150+ Exercises with Step-By-Step Video Guided Instructions


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O’Donnell, Michael.  Education and Intervention for Musculoskeletal Injuries: A biomechanics Approach. Understanding Injury, Health, and adaptations of the musculoskeletal system. 2012

Lloyd Jacob Evans, Angela Clough. Prevention of ankle sprains: A systematic Review 2011

Terada Masufmi, Pietrosime Brian and Gribble Phillip. Therapeutic Interventions for Increasing ankle dorsiflexion after ankle sprain: A systematic review. 2013

Hoch, Matthre C, Mckeon, Patrick “Peroneal Reaction Time after ankle Sprain: A systematic Review. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2013

Vairo Giampietro et al “Systematic Review of Efficacy for Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation: An evidence-based practice approach. The journal of manual and manipulative therapy.

Hubbard et al ” Ankle ligament healing after an acute ankle sprain: an evidence-based approach. Journal of athletic training 2008.

Sivakumar et al. Effectiveness of proprioception training and mulligan’s mobilization in subjects with lateral ankle sprains 

Huh et al “Two-Week Joint Mobilization Intervention improves self-reported function, range of motion, and dynamic balance in those with chronic ankle instability. Journal of Orthopedic Research 2012

Shakked Rachel, Karnovsky Sydney, and Drakos Mark. Operative treatment of lateral ligament instability. Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine 2017. 

Rogier M et al. “What is the clinical course of acute ankle sprains? A systematic literature review. The American Journal of medicine 2008.

The Basketball Doctors - Gabriel Ignacio Physical Therapist

Dr. Gabriel Ignacio PT, DPT, OCS, TPI

The Basketball Doctors - Marco Lopez Physical Therapist

Dr. Marco Lopez PT, DPT, CSCS

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