Rethinking Ankle Sprain Recovery: A Functional Patterns Perspective

Rethinking Ankle Sprain Recovery: A Functional Patterns Perspective


A sprained ankle is a common injury that can occur in various situations, from sports and physical activities to simply walking on uneven surfaces. Traditional rehabilitation methods, while widely practiced, may not always be the most effective approach for long-term Ankle sprain recovery. Questions arise when searching out remedies and solutions on the internet about sprained ankle recovery time, can walking on a sprained ankle make it worse, and how long does a sprained ankle take to heal? This article will discuss the principles of Functional Patterns and how it can transform how you approach sprained ankle recovery.

Ankle sprain

Widely practiced traditional rehabilitation methods for Ankle sprain recovery include:

RICE Method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation

Rest: Limiting weight-bearing activities to allow the injured ankle to heal.

Ice: Applying cold therapy to reduce inflammation and numb pain.

Compression: Utilizing elastic bandages or compression sleeves to control swelling.

Elevation: Keeping the injured ankle elevated above heart level to minimize swelling.

Then wearing a sprained ankle brace to stabilize the ankle.

Range of Motion Exercises

Ankle circles: Slowly rotate the ankle clockwise and counter clockwise 

Alphabet writing: Using the big toe as a "pen," drawing the alphabet in the air.

Plantar flexion and dorsiflexion: Gently pointing and flexing the foot.

Strengthening Exercises

Ankle pumps: Moving the ankle up and down against resistance, such as a resistance band.

Inversion and eversion: Using a resistance band to move the foot inward (inversion) and outward (eversion), working the muscles that stabilize the ankle.

Calf raises: Performing standing or seated calf raises to strengthen the calf muscles.

Balance and Proprioception Exercises

Single-leg stance: Standing on one leg while maintaining balance.

Wobble board exercises: Balancing on an unstable surface to challenge proprioception and strengthen the ankle.


Functional Patterns is an integrative training methodology with an innovative approach to ankle sprain recovery. Rather than focusing solely on how to heal a sprained ankle overnight in the injured area, Functional Patterns emphasizes the importance of biomechanics and natural human movement patterns in rehabilitating injuries. By learning about how the body naturally moves and fixing any issues or problems with that movement, you can improve your overall physical function and reduce any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing; Functional Patterns aims to restore optimal function to the entire body, not just the affected area. This integrative approach to training can transform how individuals approach sprained ankle recovery time, as it focuses on restoring the body's innate ability to move efficiently and functionally. By addressing movement dysfunctions and retraining the body to move in a more optimal way, Functional Patterns can improve overall health and prevent future injuries. 


How do you strengthen a sprained ankle? 

  • Focusing on Biomechanics

Functional Patterns emphasize the significance of proper biomechanics in injury prevention and recovery. Traditional rehabilitation methods often isolate specific muscles or joints, which may not address the root cause of the injury. By focusing on biomechanics, you can identify and correct the underlying movement patterns contributing to the sprained ankle, promoting long-term healing and injury prevention. At Functional Patterns, we show clients how to move the body as intended: by walking, running, throwing, and standing. By executing rehab methods for walking, running and throwing, it can help improve muscle connections throughout the body. 

Examples of those are:

  • Glute Muscles development
  • Upper and Lower back stability and strength
  • Connected calf and Achilles tendons
  • Integrated Muscular structure
  • Pain-free movement with Muscle gains

Connecting all our mechanics as one integrated piece will allow the body to move efficiently and painlessly.

  • Integrating Full-Body Movements

Instead of isolated exercises like ankle pumps or calf raises, Functional Patterns encourage full-body movement patterns incorporating the ankle joint. This will be addressed in the next section. Our approach strengthens the muscles surrounding the ankle and improves overall body mechanics and posture. These integrated movements help to retrain the nervous system and enhance proprioception, crucial for long-term ankle stability and injury prevention.

  • Addressing Gait Cycle Imbalances and Movement Dysfunctions

Sprained ankles can result from gait cycle imbalances and movement dysfunctions, which traditional rehabilitation methods may not adequately address. Functional Patterns prioritize assessing and correcting an individual's gait cycle, allowing practitioners to identify and address the movement dysfunctions that may have contributed to the ankle injury. By determining the root cause of the sprain and developing a targeted recovery plan, you can promote long-term health, stability, and a reduced risk of re-injury.

 Ankle injury

How do you rehab a weak Ankle? 

Examples of Traditional Rehab Limitations

Traditional rehab methods for sprained ankles often involve exercises that isolate specific muscles, such as the aforementioned ankle pumps and calf raises. However, research suggests that these isolated exercises may not provide the most effective recovery strategy for ankle sprains. For instance, a study by Docherty et al. (1998) found that traditional rehabilitation exercises did not significantly improve functional stability in individuals with chronic ankle instability. This finding highlights the need for a more comprehensive approach to ankle sprain rehabilitation.

Citations Challenging Traditional Ankle Rehab Methods

  1. Docherty, C.L., Moore, J.H., & Arnold, B.L. (1998). Effects of Strength Training on Ankle Stability. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 7(4), 322-334.


  1. McKeon, P.O., Hertel, J. (2008). Systematic Review of Postural Control and Lateral Ankle Instability, Part II: Is Balance Training Clinically Effective? Journal of Athletic Training, 43(3), 305-315.


These studies highlight the limitations of traditional rehabilitation methods and support the need for alternative approaches, like Functional Patterns, that focus on biomechanics and full-body movement patterns.


Prioritizing Functional Patterns Over Conventional Exercises

Functional Patterns emphasize functional movements over conventional exercises that might translate poorly into real-life scenarios. Training the body to move efficiently in ways that mimic everyday activities can promote better recovery and reduce the likelihood of future ankle injuries.

For example, Functional Patterns will incorporate exercises like step and press, rotational movements, and movements representing running, walking, or throwing, which engage the entire kinetic chain and mimic natural human movement patterns. This approach helps to create a more effective and holistic rehabilitation program. Specifically, allowing the ankle to heal in a way that is conducive to our body’s movements. This allows for the ankle to rehydrate, healing in a way that connects the ankle to the rest of the body. 

What is dehydration in our bodies?

  • Dehydration is when the body lacks sufficient water to carry out its normal functions effectively. In movement and tissues, dehydration can lead to decreased elasticity and lubrication in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, making them more prone to injury and degeneration. When we move, our tissues need to be hydrated to move effectively and prevent pain or injury.


By enabling individuals to rehydrate their tissues, Functional Patterns sets the stage for the healing process to begin. Traditional rehab methods, stretching routines, and mobility drills often isolate the ankle, making it challenging for the whole body to reconnect with the injured area. In contrast, Functional Patterns trains the body in a way that fosters mobility and strength rebuilding.


Here’s how it works:


Customizing Rehabilitation Programs

No two individuals are the same, and the same applies to ankle sprain recovery. Functional Patterns acknowledges the uniqueness of each person and recommends customizing rehabilitation programs based on individual needs and biomechanics for ankle sprain recovery. By developing a personalized ankle sprain recovery plan, you can address specific weaknesses, imbalances, or movement patterns that may have contributed to the sprained ankle, leading to more effective and long-lasting results. 


With results being the keyword here, we don’t just make claims. We get results!

Posture and Structure Improvements from FP Spain

Before and After


Functional Patterns offers a fresh perspective on sprained ankle recovery by emphasizing biomechanics, natural human movement patterns, and personalized rehabilitation programs. By moving away from traditional methods that often rely on isolated exercises, you can address the root causes of the injury and promote long-term healing and injury prevention.

As you embark on your journey to recover from an ankle sprain recovery, consider incorporating the principles of Functional Patterns into your rehabilitation plan. Doing so can improve your overall body mechanics, posture, and movement patterns, leading to better health, stability, and a reduced risk of future ankle injuries. Consult a qualified Functional Patterns practitioner before beginning any new exercise or rehabilitation program, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition, are recovering from an injury, or have further questions on sprained ankle recovery time. We are here to help and correct the system, not just your symptoms.




Docherty, C.L., Moore, J.H., & Arnold, B.L. (1998). Effects of Strength Training on Ankle Stability. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 7(4), 322-334.

McKeon, P.O., & Hertel, J. (2008). Systematic Review of Postural Control and Lateral Ankle Instability, Part II: Is Balance Training Clinically Effective? Journal of Athletic Training, 43(3), 305-315.




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