Sprained Ankle Rehab: Balance Boards

The head idiot at iRunFar has once again sprained his ankle. Doh! It’s nothing major … it’s happened before and it’ll happen again. However, with fine spring weather here and some pacing fun coming up soon, we’ve got our crack staff thinking about how to rehab the ankle ASAP. Sure there’s the RICE (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.) part of rehab in the short term, but what about after that. Well, a balance board or wobble board is an excellent way to rehab an ankle. Using a balance board will help improve:

  • Range of motion;
  • Strength of support muscles; and
  • Propioception – the body’s near-instantaneous sensing of joint position.

Can anyone recommend the best type/design of balance board for rehabbing an ankle? Any specific brands of wobble board that you’ve found to be particularly well designed or built?

Carefully running trails is also a good way to help rehab an ankle – particularly the proprioception aspect. Just in case you were wondering, carefully running trails does not include running rocky sections of trail after dark with no headlamp. No, that’s just a good way to sprain your ankle in the first place.

There are 4 comments

  1. Trail Goat

    Thanks, Tony. Though my ankle is swollen and finally turning bruising, I did managed 3.5 miles on a flat bike path last night. Couldn't really turn left, but managed other than that. I'm looking to bounce back quickly and do some rehab so this doesn't happen again in a month.

  2. Trail Goat

    Thanks, Angie. I'm gaining range of motion and the pain while running is subsiding. The ankle is a bit more achy, but much more cooperative in general. Yesterday, I hit the trails for 5 or 6 miles during a 12 mile run and even through in some impromptu hill repeats.

  3. ted

    Do any of you all have rules for when you hit the trails after an ankle sprain? I got a grade two ankle sprain about three weeks ago and I want a second opinion on when I can start doing hill workouts, I'm concerned my physical therapist is being too conservative when he says I an still two weeks out until I can start doing track workouts.

    I have full range of motion, no pain from walking or hinking, no swelling and my balance on my left leg is just about as good as my balance on my right leg.



  4. Anders

    It sounds like you are ready for running, perhaps not the amount you did before the injury. Just take it easy.

    Sprained my ankle (grade 2) 4 weeks ago and I still have some swelling, but I can hike and walk at almost 100%. I'm mostly worried about how to deal with scar tissue and lack of motion. It's my first sprain and I don't want it to happen again because I rushed back.

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