Rehab begins

This week, I was able to start working on my official rehab program. I designed my own rehab program and got it approved by the surgeon prior to beginning. I was so excited to begin putting weight on my ankle and the difference it made in my ease of life was tremendous. Even little things are so hard when you constantly have to hold one leg up in the air (or push around a cumbersome knee scooter). Getting down to one crutch was also another significant jump in ease as then I was able to carry things with one hand. It open up so much freedom. I hate walking around in a boot, but I know I have to use it to protect the internal brace that now is my anterior talo fibular ligament and the stitched up peroneal tendon. Here are things I am doing this first phase of rehab. Once the incision heals, there are a few things I will be able to add, but for now, this is the program I will be doing for the next few weeks. These are basic ankle rehab exercises that can also be helpful for anyone with a recent ankle injury, though the restrictions on ankle plantarflexion and inversion are specific to the surgery performed.

Phase One Rehab Exercises: 

  1. Stationary bike, wearing boot (started with 20 minutes and increased by a few minutes as able each day)
  2. Progression into weight bearing: Standing with two crutches, weight shifting to start putting weight on involved ankle (in boot). Progressed to walking with two crutches, putting weight on foot in boot. Progressed to walking with one crutch (put crutch under arm on the opposite side to the involved side). Progressed to walking just with walking boot (did this over several days, using crutch less and less until no crutch was needed)
  3. Foot/ankle exercises: 
    1. Towel scrunches- 1 minute 3-5 times/day
    2. Gentle ankle range of motion- dorsiflexion and eversion only (pulling toes up toward shin and pulling toes out toward the outside of the ankle): start passively by using your hands to assist the motion, progress to active assisted, helping with your ankle motions, but still using your hands, progress to active range of motion without use of hands. 1 minute 3-5 times/day
    3. Edema massage- with ankle elevated, use hands to massage gently toward the knee- start in the foot and work around the ankle 1 minute 3-5 times/day
  4. Hip exercises
    1. Double leg bridges- Lie on back, knees bent. Try to keep weight evenly both feet, squeeze glutes and lift hips up. 20 times
    2. Leg lifts all directions- Now that I can bear weight, I bend one leg and put my foot flat when I am doing the forward direction. 3 sets of 10 each leg, each direction
    3. Quadruped hip series- Hands and knees position 3 sets of 10 each side
      1. Straighten one leg behind, keeping belly button to spine
      2. Keeping knee bent, extend leg back- foot going toward ceiling
      3. Fire hydrants- keeping knee bent, lift out to the side. Return to starting position

Here are some videos of the foot and ankle exercises described above:

As always, please reach out with any questions or comments you may have!

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