Ankle injuries are very common, and when you first get a sprained ankle, you may think the ankle joint will simply heal itself after a few weeks. But, what generally tends to happen is that the ankle injury causes more damage than you realize and it is very slow to heal .

In many cases, the ankle never fully heals and your overall ankle support gets much worse. And that means, your ankle will stay weak, inflexible and unstable, which you can feel in the way you walk, run, jump, etc.

As time goes on, you may just try to live with it, but this equates to less overall movement during the day (because it bothers you) and significant impairment of natural and healthy motion, whether you are simply walking or doing something more vigorous, like playing sports.

For example, the New York Times recently reported:

“Several new studies in people and animals suggest that the effects of even a single sprained ankle could be substantial and lingering… A single sprain led to far more inactivity throughout their lives.

In one study, it turned out that students with chronic ankle instability moved significantly less than the other students, taking about 2,000 fewer steps on average each day.”

– Don’t Just Walk Off a Sprain, Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, Sep. 9, 2015

Hold On, It Gets Worse

The negative health effects of less movement, because of an old sprained ankle that never healed are quite serious. If you are moving less, because it hurts to walk, or if you are inhibited by an old sprain, then it will affect your overall health too…

In a study of 3,526 adults who responded to a questionnaire, more than half, or 1,843, had previously sustained an ankle injury. Those who had injured their ankles tended to weigh more, had greater limitations in their daily activities and were more likely to have cardiovascular or respiratory conditions than those who remained injury free.

– The Hazards of Ankle Sprains, The New York Times, Jane E. Brody, July 25, 2016

And there’s more bad news, unfortunately… it’s not just that you’re walking and moving less, it’s also that you change how you walk and move that can lead to other problems, like plantar fasciitis, chronic knee, hip or low back pain. You may not notice that you’re walking differently, but will notice pain in new areas of the body and it will appear like a frustrating new mystery.

A Sprained Ankle Can Cause Chronic Pain In Other Parts Of The Body

You may have already been using one, but if at all possible, try to avoid ankle braces, it doesn’t matter if it’s an expensive or cheap ankle brace. And it doesn’t matter what sport you are using it for or if it’s just an ankle support for running. Your ankle is a mobile joint (wiggle it around and you will see how easily it moves). But, if you go up to the next joint in the body (the knee), you will see that it is NOT mobile (you cannot wiggle it around).

But, if you take a mobile joint (ankle) and force it to become less mobile (purpose of an ankle supports, like braces), then when you walk, run, move laterally, etc… the body has to generate the movement from somewhere. And if your ankle is not mobile enough to move, your body may call upon the knee to become more mobile and that can very easily lead to a tear in your ACL, MCL, etc, because the knee can only safely move a few degrees. This is one of the reasons why that 70% of ACL tears are non-contact. Read more about knee pain and ankle braces >>

Even if you don’t tear the ligaments in your knee, you may find that after a sprained ankle, (with or without an ankle brace), you start to get knee pain, or hip pain, or even low back pain. The reason is that the angle of your foot when you walk has changed. Most people tend to point their toes more outward to alleviate any pain or tightness in the ankle.

And that slight change (over thousands of steps a day) can easily lead to tweaking your knee and generating knee pain. Basically, a sprained ankle is like a gateway injury that can lead to many more serious problems.

So, the key is NOT to ignore it… NOT to just live with it… But, to actually DO something about it. And the sooner you do something, the better.

Don’t Worry, There Is Hope…

So, what can you do if you have an old ankle injury that never fully healed? Our message is that you DO NOT have to just live with it and accept it.

The good news is that there is hope, because numerous studies have shown that a good ankle rehab program should be able to fully heal that old sprain.

There are 3 key steps you need to take…

1. Remove the waste that is trapped in the ankle and improve healthy circulation – After an injury, you will see lots of swelling and bruising. There will be a lot of damage caused by the sprain. If you just relied on rest and ice, then a good deal of that waste can get trapped in the ankle and that is part of why it never fully heals. This can also lead to poor lack of blood flow and nutrients to the ankle, which can cause all kinds of problems.

So, the first step is to naturally improve lymphatic drainage and remove any old waste and adhesions that are limiting healthy circulation and movement. A good ankle rehab program will give you some simple and all natural techniques to effectively improve healthy blood flow and remove old waste. If done right, you should feel a positive difference very quickly.

2. Rebuild ankle strength, stability and healthy range of motion – A critical part of any good ankle rehab program will be to rebuild your ankle. The goal is to regain your pre-injury strength and stability, so that your ankle can move naturally and safely in all ranges of motion.

If you have changed the way you walk and move, you should also be aware of that and try to regain your pre-injury walking and running patterns to protect your knees, hips and low back. But, that should happen fairly naturally, since you will be getting out of ankle pain and it will feel good to walk and run normally again.

This part of the ankle program should include the best ankle stretches, exercises and wide variety of other effective treatments that significantly improves the speed and quality of the healing process and properly rebuilds your ankle until it is back to 100% full strength.

3. Protect against a future ankle sprain – Not only do you want to fully heal the ankle sprain, you also want to ensure it does NOT happen again. So, a good ankle rehab program will also help protect your ankles naturally, without needing ankle braces, wraps or tape.

In fact, we have found that many people who do a really good ankle rehab program may “sprain” their ankles, but have no pain, swelling or damage, even though they twisted their ankle beyond the safe range. The reason is that their ankle ligaments are so strong and have such good range of motion that they can withstand a strong twisting force safely, which protects their ankles naturally. And even if they get another sprain, it is much more mild and they heal much more quickly.

So, even if you have an old ankle sprain, it is of paramount importance that you follow a very good ankle rehab program as soon as possible to fully heal your injury, get back to all of the things you love to do in life without pain and protect yourself from future sprains naturally.


In order to do a great ankle rehab program, you can go see a really good physical therapist OR, if you are interested in doing an excellent ankle rehab program at home, please check out HEM Ankle Rehab.

We created HEM to be a complete ankle healing system that works for any NEW or OLD calf, ankle or foot injury in 3 easy steps at home. Anyone can do it!

HEM will help you heal that old injury safely and quickly and most importantly, help ensure you can move pain free, while significantly reducing the risk of future injury.

If you’d like to learn more about HEM, please click here.

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