Wobble Board Ankle Sprain Exercises Strengthen Joints

Often used in yoga and for sports training, a wobble board (also called a balance board) can be an excellent tool for rehabilitation from a bad ankle sprain. Ankle sprains are injuries to the ligaments that surround the joint. When the ligaments are damaged, patients may complain that the ankle hurts and feels unstable.

a person balancing on a wobble board on a white background
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How a Wobble Board Helps

Wobble boards work to rehab an injured ankle in several ways:

  • Improves range of motion
    • Injured ankles tend to become stiff ankles--a problem that can potentially lead to re-injury. A wobble board will work your ankle to move in all motions and help keep the joint mobile. Ankle motions are not only up and down, but also involve sideways and rotational movements. The wobble board can help to target all of these movements of the joint.
  • Improves ankle strength
    • After an ankle injury, the muscles that surround the ankle become weak. This can lead to chronic ankle pain and potentially to re-injury of the joint. Just as with mobility, simple up and down movements of the ankle don't necessarily target all of the different muscles and tendons that surround the joint. A wobble board can help to target more of the functional movements of the joint.
  • Improves proprioception
    • Proprioception is the ability of your body to provide feedback to the brain. After an ankle sprain, the proprioception of the joint can be damaged, leading to problems controlling ankle movements. The balance board can help 're-train' the ankle joint and re-train your body to prevent future injury. People with good proprioceptive stability of the joint are able to adapt to sudden, unexpected positions of the joint without the ankle giving out completely.

Most ankle sprains get better quite quickly with simple treatment steps, but if you're having trouble, consider using a wobble board to help rehab the joint. The problem with ankle sprain injuries is that the damage to the ligaments tends to increase the likelihood of having another injury down the road. Therefore, people who have one ankle sprain, are more likely to have another sprain. People who have a third are more likely to have another injury, and so on... For this reason, it's important that individuals who sprain their ankle take steps to prevent future injury to the joint.

By Jonathan Cluett, MD
Jonathan Cluett, MD, is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. He served as assistant team physician to Chivas USA (Major League Soccer) and the United States men's and women's national soccer teams.