A foot sprain is the tearing or stretching of the ligaments that connect the bones of your foot. It usually occurs due to excessive pressure or force. Also, a foot sprain occurs when you turn or twist the foot or ankle.

Some people also experience foot sprain from stepping in a hole or another person’s foot. Foot sprains are common in Memphis, TN, especially among athletes and people involved in physical activities. In fact, around 628,000 sprains occur annually in the United States.

Physical Therapy for Foot Sprains

Foot sprains are painful, but they can be treated with physical therapies, which don’t have any side effects. After initial treatment for a foot sprain, which often includes compression, ice, rest, and elevation, your health expert may recommend physical therapy to improve the range of motion and balance and help build strength in the injured foot.

Your physical therapists will develop a plan for physical therapy to improve function so that you can return to activities such as sports and walking. Some of the improvements physical therapy can offer are the following.


Strengthening your ankle and foot can prevent foot sprain and other stress fractures from happening again. Most injuries occur because your ankles or feet aren’t strong enough to withstand the pressure or force. Building strength can help your ankles and feet buffered against strain and stress.

Boost Blood Flow

When you get injured, blood flow decreases to your ankles and feet, which prolongs the healing process. With the right physical therapy, you can improve blood flow to your ankles and feet, helping to speed up the healing process.

Works on Pain

Most people find it uncomfortable to have a lot of pain after the injury. This can also lead to a painful healing process. Some patients rely on medicines to relieve pain. Opting for therapeutic exercises will help you reduce pain and offer a less painful healing process.

Improve Motions for Your Activity

If you injured your foot, you want to ensure you can participate in sports and other activities. Physical therapists can help you ensure you can still perform physical motions required by specific tasks like sports.

Physical Therapy Exercise for Foot Sprain

Stretching Exercise

Stretching exercises are the most common treatment options for foot sprain. They can increase flexibility and range of motion. Since it provides you flexibility, stretching can help to prevent injuries like foot sprain. It also prevents DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness which usually occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercises. Some commonly used stretching exercises are:

  • Big-toes stretch
  • Achilles tendon stretch
  • Straight-knee wall stretch
  • Bent-knee wall stretch
  • Towel calf stretch

Range of Motion Exercises

This is another great option for an injured ankle or any foot injury. It increases movement at a joint, improves movement efficiency, decreases pain, increases the function of the whole limb or joints, and maintains and improves joint integrity. These exercises are usually paired with stretching and strength training for faster results.

Proprioceptive Training

With this type of physical exercise, you can improve joint position, reduces the risk of injury, improve joint stability, improve mobility, and helps to increase confidence in your joint to prevent future foot injuries.

Chronic Ankle Instability and Foot Sprains

Chronic ankle instability is a condition that refers to the recurring giving way of the lateral or outer side of your ankle. This problem usually occurs due to previous ankle sprains or foot sprains. Generally, the “giving way” happens while doing house chores, playing sports, or simply walking. In fact, it can also occur when you are just standing. The common symptoms of the condition are:

  • Persistent chronic swelling and discomfort
  • Tenderness or pain
  • A repeated turning of the ankle while participating in sports or walking on uneven surfaces
  • The ankle looks and feels unstable or wobbly

Treatment Options

If you notice any chronic ankle instability symptoms, you must visit the doctor. They can help you treat the issue as well as helps to prevent foot sprain.

Physical Therapy

They should be tried as the first treatment, and this conservative treatment is effective for most patients. This treatment revolves around retaining the damaged proprioceptive nerves and encouraging them to respond to the movement of your foot.

Bracing Treatment

It requires the application of ankle braces on foot. Bracing is an ideal method for the prevention of recurrent ankle sprains. This treatment reduces injury rates due to the mechanical stiffness of the braces and their beneficial effects on neuromuscular and proprioception activation.


It’s best to avoid surgical intervention. However, in some severe cases, surgery becomes crucial. Surgical planning can vary by patient based on the extent of injury and foot type. Surgery aims to stabilize and tighten the torn or loose ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Literal ankle ligament reconstruction and modified-Brostrom procedure are some common surgery options.

Ankle Sprain vs. Foot Sprain

The ankle sprain occurs in the ankle, while the foot sprain can be felt near the foot’s arch. Ankle injuries are also more severe than foot sprains. Repeated sprains in the ankle can lead to long-term problems, such as arthritis, chronic ankle pain, and instability. Foot sprains can also get severe, so you need to get them treated if you notice any symptoms like tenderness and pain near the arch of the foot, swelling, bruising, and being unable to put weight on the foot. An ankle sprain’s symptoms are similar to a foot sprain but occur near the ankles. This includes bruising, swelling, pain, and restricted range of motion.

Foot Pain and Foot Sprains

Foot pain can occur due to various factors, such as poor footwear, injuries, and biomedical abnormalities. Persistent chronic pain can lead to foot sprains that greatly impact your life. Here are a few treatment methods that doctors suggest to treat foot pain and prevent foot sprains.

  • Medications such as NSAID, allopurinol, or colchicine
  • Heat compression
  • Physical therapies like stretching
  • Using an ice pack in the affected area


Foot sprains can be extremely painful, but with proper diagnosis and treatment you can return to full speed in after a fairly short recovery. For diagnosis, and to explore reasons for recurring sprains, book with our clinic so that our team of expert podiatrists can help you manage your symptoms to achieve a full recovery as quickly as possible. 

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