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Ankle Sprain: Top Stability Exercises

Do you find yourself spraining your ankle frequently or do your ankle feel weak or loose?
You may be dealing with ankle instability! 

     Ankle instability is common in athletes who have had recurrent ankle sprains. It is common to find athletes dealing with chronic ankle instability (CAI) because of how lax the ligaments have become. Majority of this stems from the athlete not performing and completing proper rehab following their original ankle injury. After spraining your ankle, some of the most important things you have to work on are your mobility, stability, and power. In this article we will go over some of our favorite exercises to regain stability in your foot and ankle.

Why Work on Ankle Stability?

     Working on your stability following an ankle sprain will help regain function, strength, and balance/proprioception in your ankle. Your proprioception is the ability for you to know where your ankle and body is in space. Improving these components with stability training will help decrease your risk for future ankle sprains.

Before You Start, Assess First!

     One of the most important things we have to do before we do any training is to assess! Here is a simple test you can do to find out where your ankle stability and proprioception is. Below is a video on how to perform the test. We like performing the test at least 3 times to get an average.

Single Leg Balance KB Pass Through

     Here is one of our favorite exercises to do to improve ankle stability, in which we add an external force to help improve stability, single leg balance kettlebell pass through exercise. You are balancing on one leg as you pass a weight side-to-side to help create external perturbation and change in base of support when balancing.

Set a timer for 30 seconds to perform and complete 2-3 sets. Make it more challenging by balancing on a pad/pillow/blankets or closing your eyes.


One of the most important exercises for ankle stability is controlling your foot while your body moves. Here is one example of an exercise that you can do. It is called an airplane, in which your entire body moves and rotates on your leg. Try it out for 2 to 3 sets of 8 reps on each leg.

Lateral Bounds:

     The first two exercises, your foot is stationary while different components are acting on it, requiring your foot and ankle to maintain your body’s stability. In this exercise, you are now working on your ankle stability in a dynamic and impactful way by performing bounds. One way to work on this is lateral bounds. 

     First start with a slow movement focusing on the landing component. As your mechanics and confidence improves, then progress to less stick times, greater speeds and distances, but keep the duration at 30 seconds. Perform for 2-3 sets


     We hope you learned why ankle stability is important and some exercises you could incorporate to your rehab and workouts. These exercises are great for every athlete, especially athletes with a history of ankle sprains. The more ankle sprains the athlete has the less stability they possess and greater risk for injury. 

     If you sprained your ankle and need help with the rehab send us a message. We also have our new 5-phase ankle sprain return to sport program, which helps you return back to basketball while decreasing your risk for future ankle sprains.

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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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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