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Exercise and Weight Bearing

Exercises should be initially supervised by a qualified Physiotherapist to ensure that you are doing them correctly even if they seem at first glance to be relatively simple to do.


As soon as you are able to (immediately in lots of cases or at least as soon as your foot comes out of plaster or boot) you should start to work through the ankle movement dissociation exercises to ensure that you are able to control the ankle again with the right muscles and in doing so start to quickly improve the range of motion in each plane.

You will normally be able to sit on an exercise bike or rowing ergo very quickly and even if it is just gentle movement rather than resistance training it is all valuable in the short term.

Starting weight bearing rehabilitation

Even before you are supposed to fully weight bear it is often quite alright to stand with your weight equally on two legs and start to do some gentle squats and heel raise exercises. This is still less weight through the affected side that when you walk normally and so at times have all your weight on one leg only.

Lunges are then a good way to progress the resistance through the affected leg but without putting all your weight on one leg only if this is not allowed at this stage still.

As you are able to wean yourself from crutches and your surgeon is happy that you start to fully weight bear you should start practicing weight transference and balance exercises on one leg. This can be done with a wobble board or any less stable surface to make this more challenging as well as by taking away visual feedback and balancing for as long as your can on one leg with eye closed.

At this stage you could also be using a cross trainer (or step machine, stair master etc) in the gym again

Once you can balance on one leg easily keeping all your joints under control you should be starting to do small range one leg squats. This is initially hard to control but remember when you walk and run you have to put all your weight on just one leg and control the joints properly so this is a very important exercise for trying to get a normal gait pattern again.

If you are finding this difficult there may well be hip strengthening exercises that you will be asked to do as well by your physio and a podiatry referral is often needed at this
stage as you get back to walking and running again.

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