Proprioception training exercises - after sprained ankle

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

Proprioception exercises - what is the purpose?


We had mentioned that after sprained ankle injury the proprioception sense of the ankle joint may be compromised. Allowing the problem persists, one may feel unstable in the ankle joint or the worst scenario, another injury.


The proprioception and balance exercises not only beneficial to post ankle injury, it is also fundamental to learning new sports. Take an example of hiking, beginners hikers may find stepping on uneven trails exhausted and required to be careful in every step. Training up your proprioception and balance is one of the important parts to allow your body to move in a more harmonious way and hence prevent injury.


Easy to follow proprioception and balance exercises:


Start the exercises from the easiest level 1 and gradually improve difficulties to level 6.

If you are taking the below program as rehabilitation exercises after spraining your ankle, make sure no pain should elicit during and after the workouts.

After you handle mini-series A with ease you can ignore those exercises and focus on mini-series B.


Depending on your activity levels and health condition, if you are unable to perform the following exercises, do not force yourself. Adjust the intensity of workouts that suit your physical condition. If you have doubts about the exercise program, visit a health care professional or physical trainer before doing the exercises.


The following exercises are easy to perform without expensive equipment. So let's get started!


Mini-series A (Level 1 to Level 3)


Level 1

Heel to toe stand

  1. Put your hands on your hips.

  2. Bring the heel of your left foot touching the toes of your right foot in a straight line.

  3. Hold the position for one minute.

  4. Have a short rest.

  5. Repeat 3 times.

  6. Reverse the position of the feet.

Improve difficulties by:

  1. Lifting both arms up above your head.

  2. Closing your eyes.


Level 2

Single leg stand

  1. Put your hands on your hips.

  2. Balance on one leg, the suspended leg can be in any position e.g. start by slightly bending your knee to clear your foot off the ground which is the easiest.

  3. Hold for one minute.

  4. Have a short rest.

  5. Repeat 3 times.

  6. Followed by another leg.

Improve difficulties by:

  1. Lifting both arms up above your head.

  2. Closing your eyes.

  3. Standing on a pillow or rubber foam platform which is 6-8 inches thick.


proprioception exercise, heel to toe stand and single leg stand

Level 3

Single leg stand with kicking

  1. Put your hands on your hips.

  2. Balance on one leg, bring the thigh of the suspended leg up, and kick the foot out.

  3. Bring back the thigh and kick backward.

  4. Repeat 5-10 times per set.

  5. Have a short rest.

  6. Followed by another leg.

  7. You can perform 3 sets of exercises.

The movement should perform in a smooth and controlled manner.

Improve difficulties by:

  1. Lifting both arms up above your head.

  2. Closing your eyes.

  3. Standing on a pillow or rubber foam platform which is 6-8 inches thick.


Mini-series B (Level 4 - Level 6)


Level 4

Single leg stand with arm movement

  1. Balance on one leg (e.g.right leg)

  2. Bring both arms up above your head.

  3. Lift up the thigh of your suspended leg (left leg) and touch your ankle on the outside with your hand (right hand)

  4. Return both arms up above your head and keep your thigh up.

  5. Repeat 5-10 times.

  6. Have a short rest.

  7. Followed by another leg.

  8. You can perform 3 sets of exercises.

The movement should perform in a smooth and controlled manner.

Improve difficulties by:

  1. Closing your eyes.

  2. Standing on a pillow or rubber foam platform which is 6-8 inches thick.


Level 5

Catching a ball with single leg stand

  1. Balance on one leg.

  2. Ask a partner to throw a ball to you.

  3. Maintain your balance and catch the ball.

  4. Start with gentle throwing that aims close to your body.

  5. When you get used to the exercise, ask your partner to throw harder or aim further off your body side.

  6. Continue for 30 seconds to one minute per set.

  7. Have a short rest.

  8. Followed by another leg.

  9. You can perform 3 sets of exercises.

You can improve the difficulties by standing on a rubber foam platform.


Level 6

Star excursion exercises

  1. Putting tape on the floor in a star form.

  2. Stand in the middle of the star.

  3. Put your hands on your hips.

  4. Balance with one leg.

  5. Start by touching the line in front of you with the suspended leg lightly, return to the middle without allowing the suspended leg to touch the floor.

  6. Go clockwise with the suspended leg touching each line, you can bend your knee on the supporting leg.

  7. Have a short rest.

  8. Repeated the exercise going anti-clockwise.

  9. Have a short rest.

  10. Followed by another leg.

  11. You can perform 3 sets of exercises.


proprioception start excursion exercise

Improve difficulties by:

  1. Lifting up your arms above your head.

  2. Reach further on the star with your suspended leg.

  3. Standing on a pillow or rubber foam platform which is 6-8 inches thick.


This article is not intended to replace medical advice. Seek professional help if you encounter any problem with the exercise program.


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Sprained ankle facts

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Sprained ankle statistics


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