Ankle Pain Relief: Tips for Recovery and Strengthening

Foot and ankle pain can prevent you from enjoying daily activities. From sharp heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis to back-of-the-ankle pain resulting from Achilles tendonitis, various culprits may be to blame for your discomfort. Sprains and strains are other common issues characterized by pain, bruising, and limited movement. But don’t lose hope—you can take actionable steps to relieve your pain and reclaim your mobility. Here’s how. 

how to deal with ankle pain

The First Steps Toward Pain Relief 

Before seeking any drastic treatments, try these conservative approaches: 

  • Wear shoes with proper arch support. 
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. 
  • Minimize long periods of standing, walking, or running. 
  • Apply a towel-wrapped ice pack to the affected area to reduce swelling. 
  • Incorporate ankle and foot stretches into your daily routine. 

Foot and Ankle Strength Exercises to Try 

If you’re wondering how to strengthen your ankles and relieve pain, targeted stretches are the answer. Try the following in any order or combination, depending on your symptoms: 

  • Achilles tendon and plantar fascia stretch: This ankle stretch for pain relief targets the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull back gently while keeping your knee straight. Hold for 30 seconds on each foot. 
  • Seated fascia stretch: Sit in a chair and cross one foot over the opposite knee. Grab the base of your toes and pull back until you feel a stretch in the underside of your foot. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat three times per foot. 
  • Towel pickup: This is a great ankle strength exercise. Lay a towel flat on the ground and, while seated, pick it up with your toes. For added resistance, place a small weight on the towel. Repeat 10 to 20 times. 
  • Foot roll: Use a cylindrical object like a can of soup for this plantar fascia stretch. Roll the arch of your foot back and forth over the can for a few minutes. 
  • Heel and toe raises: Start with your feet flat. Then, raise both heels off the floor, holding the position for a few seconds. Next, lift your toes and hold. Repeat five times. 
  • Toe bends: With your heels grounded and toes pointing up, bend your toes downward, then upward, holding each bend for a few seconds. Repeat five times. 
  • Big toe isolation: Lift just your big toe while keeping the others on the ground. Hold and repeat five times. 
  • Calf wall stretch: This stretch benefits stiff ankles. Stand facing a wall and place one foot in front of the other. Keeping your back knee straight, lean forward to feel a stretch in your calf. Repeat 10 times. 
  • Deep calf stretch: Stand on a step and allow your heels to hang off the edge, stretching your calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three times. 

If Pain Persists, Seek Expert Help 

When you’ve tried at-home ankle sprain exercises, but your mobility is still compromised, it’s time to see a doctor. At Greater Maryland Pain Management, we take a customized approach to relieving ankle pain, offering interventional procedures and medication management guided by highly skilled doctors. Our compassionate, responsive staff is ready to assist you, so call us today at 410-672-2255 or visit one of our six Greater Maryland locations.