Exercises That Heal Injured Ankles
The ankle joint is a hinge joint that majorly supports the plantar flexion and dorsiflexion movements. Notably, ankle injuries comprise of ankle fracture and sprain. Ankle fractures can be either due to partial or a complete break in the bone and these may range from avulsion injuries to severe injuries. It is also most commonly caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward.
An ankle sprain is a condition where the ankle ligaments are partially or completely torn. About 85 percent of the injuries involve inversion ankle sprain and the symptoms range from mild to severe. Ankle sprains are usually divided into three grades:
- Grade 1: Microscopic injuries without stretching the ligament.
- Grade 2: Macroscopic stretching with the ligament intact.
- Grade 3: Complete rupture of the ligament.
Causes Of Ankle Injuries
- Tumbling or falling down the stairs.
- Running or walking on uneven surtaces,
- Twisting the ankle due to use of faulty shoes or high heels.
- Jumping and landing awkwardly.
- Injury to ligaments or tendons.
- Avulsion fracture.
- Achilles tendonitis.
Symptoms Of Injured Ankles
- Pain at the site of injury.
- Stiff movements.
- Inability to bear weight on the injured ankle.
- Weakness and instability.
- Change in the appearance of the ankle.
- Pins and needles sensation.
How Physiotherapy Helps
- It is important to protect the injured area as well as reduce pain. This is done with the Price protocol.
- Protect – Protecting the injured area by resting and staying away from activities that cause further pain or injury.
- Rest – Resting the ankle completely.
- Ice – Application of ice for 10-15 minutes every two to three hours‘s essential to reduce pain and swelling.
- Compression – A compression bandage or stocking helps support the area and reduces swelling.
- Elevation – Elevating the ankle above the heart level also helps reduce swelling.
- In case of fractures, the ankle is immobilized by restricting it in a cast or splint.
- To achieve a good range of motion and stability, ankle taping can be done at later stages. It also provides full support to the joint.
- The ankle and foot muscles require muscle strengthening after any kind of injury to these parts. The following are a few exercises to strengthen the toot muscles:
- Ankle Mobility Exercises – These involve all the movements of the ankle.
- Towel Roll – Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Place a towel in front of you and curl the towel towards you using only the toes. Do ten repetitions and relax.
- Marble Exercise – Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Place some marbles in front of you and pick the marbles using the toes and place them in a bowl. Repeat.
- Stretch Band Exercise – Sit on the floor with your legs straight out. Support the elastic band on a chair and wrap it around the feet. Now pull the feet towards you and hold for 10 seconds and repeat. The next movement involves wrapping the band around the sole and holding the ends of the band in your hands with the toes pointed down. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat.
Stretching exercises are important to improve flexibility. Some of these exercises are as follows:
- Towel Stretch – Sit on the floor with both legs spread out, Take a towel and wrap around the affected area. Hold both ends of the towel in your hands and pull ¡t towards you. Hold for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat.
- Calf Stretch – Stand in front of a wall and place the unaffected foot forward with the knee slightly bent and the affected foot backward and flat on the floor, pointing straight forward. Now shift your weight onto the front leg until you feel the stretch at the back of the leg. Hold for few seconds and relax. Repeat.
- Warm up and stretch before any exercise.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Be careful while walking or running on uneven or slippery surfaces.