PT Exercises and Recovery Tips for Ankle Impingement

someone with an ankle sprain

Ankle Impingement: Exercises, Recovery, and Prevention with Physical Therapy


If you’ve ever experienced ankle impingement, then you know it can be a debilitating condition. Physical therapy has been proven to offer relief from the pain and inflammation associated with this type of injury. In this article, we will discuss how physical therapy helps people with ankle impingement and what to expect at each visit. We will also look at different types of exercises and how long recovery usually takes. Finally, we will explore how physical therapy helps to prevent re-injury.

What to Expect at Physical Therapy

If you’ve been advised to seek physical therapy for ankle impingement, then it is best to prepare yourself mentally and physically before your first visit. During the initial evaluation, your physical therapist will look at your medical history, assess the type of injury you have, and discuss treatment options. They will then set up a personalized plan just for you.

Treatment plans usually involve a combination of hands-on physical therapy techniques and exercises designed to help reduce pain and inflammation, as well as restore strength and mobility in the ankle. Your therapist may use tools like ultrasound, massage, and electrical stimulation to improve your condition. It’s important to be open and honest with your therapist so that they can adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Exercises for Ankle Impingement

Your physical therapist will also prescribe exercises designed to help reduce pain and improve strength and range of motion in the ankle joint. Here are some of the exercises you might do during physical therapy:

Ankle circles: Move your ankle in a circular motion, starting small and gradually increasing the size of the circle. This will help to decrease inflammation and improve range of motion.

Heel slides: Sit with one leg extended in front of you. Slowly slide your heel away from your body and then back towards it. You should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your ankle with each slide.

Step-ups: Place one foot on a step or bench and press down through the heel to lift yourself up. You should feel this exercise working your calf and ankle muscles.

Resistance band exercises: Wrap a resistance band around your ankle joint and perform various exercises, such as heel raises or ankle rotations. These exercises help to strengthen the muscles around your ankle joint and improve your range of motion.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

The length of recovery depends on the severity of the impingement, as well as other factors like age and overall health. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks for symptoms to completely resolve with physical therapy treatment. Your physical therapist will be able to give you a better estimate once they have evaluated your ankle joint and developed an individualized treatment plan.

How Physical Therapy Prevents Re-injury

Physical therapy is important for preventing re-injury of the ankle joint after an impingement episode. Your physical therapist will help to strengthen the muscles around your ankle joint and improve your range of motion. This will help to reduce the risk of re-injury by improving the stability of your ankle joint. In addition, they may provide you with a stretching routine that you can do on your own to maintain the gains made during physical therapy treatment.


Ankle impingement is one of the most common reasons for people seeing a physical therapist. Physical therapy can help to improve the range of motion, reduce pain and swelling, and prevent re-injury of the ankle joint. Your physical therapist will develop an individualized treatment plan for you that may include manual therapy techniques, exercises, and stretches. With dedication and commitment to your physical therapy program, you can expect to see a full recovery in 3-6 weeks.