Why Ankle Mobility is Important and How to Recover from Ankle Surgery

ankle injury

We often don’t give ankles much thought until they start hurting.

Ankle pain can make doing everyday activities impossible. Standing, walking, and exercising can be excruciating when dealing with ankle pain.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on ankle mobility before you get injured. However, if you are recovering from ankle surgery, you can also do several exercises to improve ankle mobility to get stronger and prevent further damage.

Why Ankle Mobility Matters

Our ankles are among the most critical joints in our bodies. They are the first major joint to absorb shock when our feet touch the ground, whether by standing, walking, or running.

Without full ankle mobility, the shock our ankles are supposed to absorb will be absorbed somewhere else. It will move up the chain of our body, potentially landing on our knees, hips, or back.

We can also have problems when only one ankle has proper mobility. If one ankle has complete mobility and the other operates at 50%, the body will need to balance itself out. This can lead to imbalances in the knees, hips, or back.

So, having ankle mobility in both ankles is critical for complete body alignment. Losing ankle mobility often means gaining pain somewhere else in the body. A lack of ankle mobility can also lead to more severe conditions such as Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, sacroiliac dysfunction, and plantar fasciitis.

How to Recover from Ankle Surgery

Several things can lead someone to require ankle surgery, including a lack of ankle mobility. 

If you have recently had ankle surgery or are preparing for an upcoming surgery, here are some things you can do to speed up your recovery without risking a re-injury.

Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about your recovery. They can work with you to develop a recovery plan. The steps listed below are intended to help you once you have been cleared to become active again after surgery.

  1. Take it slow

You may feel better after surgery, but you are not 100% yet. So, don’t try to be a superhero by “pushing through the pain” and hoping for the best.

A good rule of thumb is to modify your exercise to around 50% of what you were doing before getting injured. If you feel any pain as you move, stop what you’re doing and take it as a sign that you are moving too fast. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have with pain after surgery. 

Try these ankle and foot exercises to help you get stronger without any pain.

  1. Go low impact

Many fantastic low-impact exercises can help you strengthen your entire body, including your ankles, without dealing with the shock of high-impact activities.

For example, the squat is a fantastic exercise that works every part of your body. Use cork blocks to ensure stability and keep your knees aligned, preventing future ankle injuries.

a woman squatting on a balance board

Another good low-impact exercise is balancing. Standing on a balance board for just a few minutes a day can strengthen your ankles, knees, hips, and core. Start by balancing just one minute at a time and work up from there.  

Finally, if you have a pool nearby, go for a swim. Swimming will get your heart rate without harsh impact. Make sure to stretch properly before and after your swim to reduce your chances of getting another injury.

  1. Be easy on yourself

It isn’t easy to go from being active to sitting in a cast or relying on a device to get around. But, remember, you will get strong again. It might feel like it’s taking forever for your body to heal. As long as you follow your doctor and physical therapist's recommendations, you will get back to feeling like yourself in time.

So, use this time to do other things that don’t require you to be as active. Take up a hobby that you can do while sitting, such as reading or painting. Nourish your body with healthy foods so it can continue healing. Finally, make sure you’re staying hydrated. Your body needs water as it heals, and it can be easy to forget when you’re not as active as you used to be.

Final Thoughts

Ankle mobility is essential for every type of activity you do. So, make sure you incorporate ankle strengthening and balancing exercises into your daily activities to avoid injuries in the future.

Visit the StrongTek Fitness Academy to gain more insight into how to keep your body fit and healthy.

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