How to Work Out With an Injured Ankle

You were out running, or you went ice-skating and forgot you have horrible balance. Whatever it is, you hurt your ankle and are now out for the count until that brace comes off.

What are you to do?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up your workouts because of this slip-up. Ankle injuries suck, they make it hard to get around and you can’t do any sort of squats or lunges.

We know that having to sit out of workouts for any amount of time isn’t ideal, that’s why we’re here to tell you that you can still work out, even with your ankle wrapped up. Little disclaimer first: you need to consult your doctor first before completing these workouts. The last thing we want is for you to hurt yourself further, so please see a physical therapist.

Identifying an Ankle Injury

There are plenty of ways to get an ankle injury, the ankles have a tendency to roll or twist if you’re not careful with your movements. That’s why it’s so important to keep good form while exercising or wear the proper equipment if you’re prone to injuries.

When landing on a surface that’s uneven or slippery your ankle can twist or roll, causing the ligaments to

A young woman massaging her painful ankle

tear or stretch too far. Sometimes walking off the twist is all you have to do, however, if you’ve sprained your ankle you have to be careful.

If you experience consistent pain when putting weight on the foot, swelling, or bruising on the outside of the ankle, then you most likely have a sprain and should go to the doctor to have it wrapped. In some cases you may need crutches, too.

The best way to treat a bad ankle is with the R.I.C.E. method. You need to rest the foot, ice it consistently to bring down swelling, compress the injury, and keep it elevated as often as possible. R.I.C.E. is a tried and true method; you have to be patient if you don’t want to injury to become worse.

Russian Twists

A twist on the classic sit up. Using a medicine ball or weight, perform a sit-up, but at the peak, twist your upper body from one side to the other, then lower yourself back down. This works the entire core as you engage more muscles than a regular sit up.

Standing Row

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your upper body bent forward slightly. If you have weights hold them in your hands. You’re going to push your arms out straight and then bring your hands towards your chest as if on a rowing machine. Bend your elbows out from your body.

Stability Ball Push-Up

Using a stability ball you can still complete a push-up while recovering from an ankle injury. Be careful while performing this exercise and take your time. You’re going to enter a regular push-up position, but have your shins resting on a stability ball behind you. Don’t do this exercise while balancing using your feet on the ball; we don’t want to hurt the ankle further. Do a push-up as normal while keeping weight off of your ankles and adding new muscles into the exercise.

Bicycle Crunches

For this exercise you’re going to start in a sit-up position. Raise both feet off of the ground so your knees are bent. Now you’re going to alternately bring one knee towards your chest while extending the opposite leg away from your body. At the same time bring your elbow towards the bent knee. So, when bringing your right knee towards your body, bring your left elbow to meet it. You can complete this exercise quickly or try and hold each side for a few seconds depending on the workout you’re doing.

Chest Presses

For this exercise you’ll need some weights. Lay on the ground with your feet flat so your knees are bent. Rest your elbows on the ground on either side of you with your arms bent. Raise the weights up until your arms are straight and then lower back down, breathing out. Don’t let your elbows touch the ground until you finish a whole rep.

Shoulder Presses 

This exercise can also be completed while sitting to avoid putting weight on your ankle. This workout also uses weights. Sit up with your back straight and your feet resting on the ground. Bend your elbows out to either side of you so your arms are shoulder height. Straighten your arms so that your hands are above your head and then slowly lower back down.