Paspa Physical Therapy

Do You Wake Up with Stiff Ankles in the Morning?

Ankle stiffness is a common ailment of old age. Over time, the ankle wears down and becomes weak.

Older folks experiencing ankle pain should speak with an orthopedic doctor or a physical therapist to discuss treatment options.

Treatment options frequently include anti-inflammatories, regular walking, or soft tissue massages.

A woman holding onto her stiff ankle.

Chronic joint pain may indicate an underlying health problem like arthritis. Contact our experts at Paspa Physical Therapy to discuss possible treatment options.

Why Do I Have Stiff Ankles in the Morning When I Get Out of Bed?

Joint stiffness is a common ailment and can affect 1 in 4 Americans.

Stiff ankles are among the most common joints that experience recurring pain in the morning. 

The root cause of stiffness is usually arthritis, tendonitis, an ankle sprain, or an injury.

Overuse is another common factor that can lead to issues, especially after long periods of exercise or strenuous activity.

Broken, twisted, or sprained ankles are also common injuries that induce ankle problems.

People who have suffered an ankle sprain should avoid putting weight on the injury until the ankle has completely healed.

Once the ankle is healed, a physical therapy regime should be strictly adhered to to ensure scar tissue does not develop and limit the ankle’s range of motion.

What to Do If You Have Stiff Ankles in the Morning?

At-home treatments for occasional ankle pain include rest, icing, and compression.

People experiencing regular stiff ankles should consider a physical therapy regime to strengthen the muscles in the area.

Physical therapy can help reduce the painful symptoms of stiffness in most people.

A physical therapist stretching the stiff ankle of a female patient.

How Does Physical Therapy Help with Ankle Stiffness in the Morning?

Physical therapy is a scientific discipline based on biomechanics, studying how the human body moves.

Physical therapy can help you regain mobility in your ankles by strengthening them with targeted movements.

Stretching Exercises for Stiff Ankles in the Morning

Physical therapists recommend stretching as an easy way to reduce ankle issues.

Stretching first thing in the morning can be difficult, especially if you are experiencing severe pain, but it is essential to improving flexibility and reducing inflammation. 

Below are some common stretches to reduce stiffness. Follow them carefully, ensuring that you have good form in your ankles to avoid injuring yourself further.

Ankle Circles

  1. Sit in a chair with your leg crossed across your lap.
  2. Slowly rotate your ankle in a circle.
  3. Do not force the movement. Stay within a reasonable range of motion.
  4. Perform the exercise until swelling or stiffness symptoms subside.
  5. Repeat steps for the other ankle.

Achilles Stretch

  1. Stand up and place your hands on a wall for support.
  2. Place the leg you want to stretch one step behind your other leg.
  3. Keep the soles of your feet planted as you bend the knee closest to the wall. You should feel a stretch in the Achilles tendon furthest from the wall.

Towel Stretch

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you.
  2. Wrap a towel or piece of fabric around the toes of the foot with the stiff ankle.
  3. Gently pull on your toes using the towel or fabric until you feel a slight stretch in your ankle.
  4. Remember to breathe.
  5. Repeat the steps for the other foot to decrease pain.

If your pain persists, you might need more extensive physical therapy.

Our skilled professionals at Paspa Physical Therapy are ready to guide you in the steps to alleviate your pain and stiff ankles in the morning.

Call our office in Manhattan, NY today or book your initial appointment online to get back to doing the things you love.

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