Physical Therapy Ankle
By Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES
Ankle Sprain & Ankle Pain
Ankle injuries are very common whether it is a sprain, strain, or fracture. There are over millions of ankle injuries each year with the main cause of ankle injuries happening when landing or jumping improperly. Furthermore, the recovery time of an ankle sprain is based on the severity of the injury.
Recovery time for ankle sprains are:
- Grade 1: 5-14 days.
- 2: 4-6 weeks.
- Grade 3: 8-12 weeks. *could be longer*
During the recovery period, ankle braces and icing will help control the swelling and stability of the ankle. To rule out that you do not have a fracture is to get an X-Ray. Listed below are ankle rehab exercises that we would do for an ankle sprain. These exercises can help you improve your ankle mobility and strength. In addition, it is important to complete these exercises with caution and at a slow rate, and not through any pain. Physical Therapy Ankle exercises should be given by a certified physical therapist.
Physical Therapy Ankle Exercises
Dorsiflexion is lifting your foot towards your shin by moving your foot upwards. Weight could be added on the foot for further resistance as you progress with this exercise.
Plantar flexion is pointing your foot down towards the ground. Different resistance bands could be added for further progression in physical therapy with this exercise.
Inversion is the movement of your foot towards the medial, or mid-line of your body, with the toes pointed upward. When completing the exercise with your left foot, the movement should be going towards the right side of your body. If you use your right foot, the movement should be going towards the left side of your body. Also, for further progression a resistance band could be added.
Eversion is moving your foot towards the outside part of your leg. When completing the exercise with your left foot, the movement should be going towards the left side of your body. If you use your right foot, the movement should be going towards the right side of your body. Furthermore, a resistance band could be added for further progression in physical therapy with this exercise.
The alphabet is when you write each letter by moving your foot as if writing the alphabet. In addition, for further resistance a weight could be added as you progress with this exercise.
Dorsiflexion with Resistance Band
Dorsiflexion with a resistance band is more challenging than the general dorsiflexion exercise. While moving your foot toward your body, make sure your knee is straight. The resistance band will help strengthen other muscles in your shin.
Seated & Standing One Leg Calf-Raises
One leg calf-raises can either be completed standing or sitting. When completing a calf-raise, all of the movement should be coming from the injured ankle. While completing the calf-raise, use your ankle to raise your heel off the ground.
Weight shifts are when you are standing up and then shifting some (or all of your body weight) to your injured ankle. This exercise is done early in the rehab program to improve balance and proprioception.
Lateral Stepping with a Cone
Lateral stepping with a cone is when you are shifting all of your weight to your injured ankle, tapping the cone with the uninjured ankle. After that, step with your other foot to rest. Weight could be added to make it more difficult as you progress with this exercise.
Physical Therapy Ankle Process
If you have persistent pain or stiffness in your ankle, physical therapy can be a helpful option. A physical therapist will evaluate the health of your ankle and the surrounding area to determine any issues.
Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has the answers for your ankle sprain, strain, or fracture. From world class physical therapy to the some of the top orthopedic surgeons in the country. JOI has the experience to solve your ankle issues. Come see us!
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, go to: JOIonline.net or call 904-858-7045.
JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.