recovering from torn ankle ligament

I am 5 weeks into recovering from torn ankle ligaments.  I am only just at the stage of being able to put some pressure through my ankle.  I am seeing a sports therapist, but has anyone got any tips on what exercise would help speed up my recovery as i am due to run the Bupa  great south  run in October and I want to get back training.

Please help I am getting extremely frustrated.



  • I had various exercises from my physio. Still took me 11 months before I was back training properly
  • I am not sure if you are trying to cheer me up!!!  What type of exercises did your physio give you or did you find one thing more helpful than others?

  • squats on a bosu ball, and balancing on one leg over a "drop"  the bottom step on the stairs or a reebok step and going up and down on that one leg...

    Even 2 years later I still do a couple of sets of these every gym session

  • Hi,


    Sorry to burst your bubble but the truth is ankle injuries can take a long time to recover. I turned mine twice in January and am still not up and running properly yet. Some respond well to rehabilitation exercises and others not so. My only advice, as all cases are different is to use an experienced sports therapist with a proven track record and follow their guidance to the letter. Do not add bits where you think it feels OK to unless you have talked it through with them first.

    I had great plans for this season but after a month or so I had to accept what my situation was and come to terms with it. 

    If you can't do this years event then so be it but be sure to recover stronger and return fitter than ever for next years event. 

    I wish you a swift recovery but be prepared mentally to dig in.

  • What type of exercises did your physio give you or did you find one thing more helpful than others?


  • Your recovery depends on how badly your ankle ligament is torn. There are 3 grades of ankle sprain (what you have I'm assuming?) Grade 1 where the ligament is stretched, Grade 2 where the ligament is partially torn and swollen due to the collagen in the ligament spilling out (as well as inflammation) you limp about with this one, and Grade 3 is where the liament is totally torn and your needing help to walk.

    Grade 1 should heal in a few days or a week or two at most, Grade 2 takes about 6-8 weeks, sometimes longer and Grade 3 can take anything around 6 months and even longer if your hobbling about as your likely to disturb it as it heals.


    The thing with a torn ligament is its not like a bone break, the thing thats broken needs to retain its stretchiness once recovered. The only problem with that is, when healing your body naturally forms scar tissue and that is brittle and does not stretch, the ligament does grow back but at a much slower rate. What you need to do then is to keep your ankle moving- but try to lay off the impact.


    Things I did when I had my ankle sprained (grade 2) was to cycle, row and use a gym stairmaster. As for keeping it moving (all these things were chosen as my ankle wouldn't move as much when doing them) I would make small circles with my foot (swirling my ankle around) or spelling out letters of the alphabet. If you can get to one, go to a swimming pool where your able to sit on the outside and sit with your feet over the edge in the pool and try the above exercises when doing that, it feels a lot less painful and helps your leg use the muscles a bit differently.


    After any rehab exercises, or even if you've just been trying to walk around a bit, use RICE (Rest Ice Compression and Elevation) (bag of peas on a leg raised so your ankle is above your heart then use a compression pad when not elevated: warning- do not sleep with any ice or compression or elevation going on!).


     Be patient and its worth remebering the healing of the actual injury may have finished but there can still be swelling left. My grade 2 sprain took well over a year to properly go down and this is because the collegen needs to be taken away with your bodies circulation but where as you have farily quick circulation around your torso and head its not as fast around your limbs. The reason for this is because its further away from your heart and not as essential from your bodies point of view. Massage, Yoga and balance exercises can help boost your circulation but be careful with that: once you've sprained the joint it will always be that bit weaker in that area and very easy for it to 'go' again in the exact same area, your best defence against that is to build up your core stability through many balancing exercises and build up your muscles through resistance exercises.

  • Sounds like v good advice to me

  • I have a grade 3 ligament tear.  I am 3 weeks now off the crutches and am just starting to walk the dog.  The physio has given me exercises of doing circles with my ankle and  when i am sitting down to try and do the circles with my foot on the floor to put pressure through it, swimming and standing on myottom step and sort of hanging over the back.

    The biggest thing is that every day I end up looking like i have an elephants photo as it swells up, I am RICE every evening and my theraphist has told me to massage the ankle daily to push the fluid away.

  • Sounds like your in good hands- it just takes time. Your exercises will help and RICE will help but rest is essential and will do just as much. If your physio has given you a rough recovery time go with that but I've always been told 6 months for a ligament tear. Resting and the exercises will all make that possible but remember to go easy as like I've said, it is very easy to repeat another tear!

  • My physio told me I have torn ligament and I will be able run after 4 weeks no running only swimming rowing and cycling

    I hope he is right because I got to run London marathon

    I have no pain I can walk etc but can't run on that foot.

    Any advise welcome
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