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Assistance required for ankle strengthening


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Hi ENA,

 

I broke my ankle at roller derby on 1/28/19; surgery to repair the bimalleolar fracture on 2/5/19. I had physical therapy for about 2 months after I was mobile, but due to an insurance snafu, I had to discontinue it about a month ago.

 

I was given clearance to begin skating lightly again on 6/27/19, but after three attempts, my ankle just isn't having any of it. I bought new skates that come up over my ankle (as the surgeon recommended), and I wear compression socks to improve circulation, but I can't wear any type of sleeve or brace because my skates would be too small (although they may stretch a little once they are broken in more).

 

 

I deal with pretty extreme stiffness from the injury, and the surgeon warned that this may be a lifetime thing, because apparently I have an uncommon issue where part of one bone is growing in towards the other one where there's usually only tissue. He said I could get another surgery to remove it, but it'll likely just grow back. So I'm already working with a disadvantage due to that.

 

I do the "normal" exercises that loosen the ankle and assist with stretching it (circles, "tracing" the alphabet, stretching along a wall, etc), but it doesn't seem to have made much difference. At home I have a treadmill and free weights, along with a weight bench and weights to go on the bar over the bench, but those won't really do much in terms of ankle strengthening.

 

 

I just continue to feel stiff and I'm not really even able to jog, let alone skate. I get pain on the outside of the ankle towards the foot, under where the new plate is. Does anyone have any ideas for at-home things I can do to try and strengthen the ankle so I can skate again?

 

Thanks :)

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Yoga classes or similar stretch type program. Dancing classes or similar walking in many directions and on toes type program, Tai chi etc. Focus on strength and stretch in all planes of motion. It may not accelerate healing per se but it will increase function as well as prevent injuries. Strengthen the joints above and below an injured joint as well as the other ankle. Focus on good foot health, strength and flexibility and footwear. Keep knees strong and stable. Walk up and down stairs a lot, especially walk down stairs backwards. Avoid too much impact at this point.

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Did your PT never go over exercises to maintain the fitness of your ankle after treatment? I know it had to end prematurely, but at some point s/he should have been running you through some things. Not asking to be a d*ck. It's pretty much the equivalent of unqualified medical advice when it comes to ankles, especially if they've ever been seriously injured. Add to it you've got an innate condition and I don't think anyone here can or should be giving you advice on how best to apply stress to your ankle.

 

Don't mean to be a downer, but I wouldn't cut corners for advice on this one. You're running the risk of not being able to skate being the least of your hindrances.

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Did your PT never go over exercises to maintain the fitness of your ankle after treatment? I know it had to end prematurely, but at some point s/he should have been running you through some things. Not asking to be a d*ck. It's pretty much the equivalent of unqualified medical advice when it comes to ankles, especially if they've ever been seriously injured. Add to it you've got an innate condition and I don't think anyone here can or should be giving you advice on how best to apply stress to your ankle.

 

Don't mean to be a downer, but I wouldn't cut corners for advice on this one. You're running the risk of not being able to skate being the least of your hindrances.

 

I appreciate the honesty. I was given at-home stretching exercises, but really the only thing I was told for strengthening was to balance for longer periods of time on the injured leg. My surgeon released me to start skating "lightly", and PT told me that I can start doing normal things "as tolerated", but not really any ways of improving that without any of their equipment. It was a really good two months of PT, but I feel like I was sort of pushed into my normal, regular life without any tools. Not their fault, of course, given I still have a lot of PT I should've continued to do, but the issue with my insurance ended it early, so they never officially released me from treatment. That's why I'm not sure what I can do now.

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Walk up and down stairs a lot, especially walk down stairs backwards. Avoid too much impact at this point.

 

I do this quite often, but doing it backwards is the worst for me. It's almost intolerable.

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Unfortunately, arthritis sets in after the body had been invaded with orthopedic surgery. I know because I've since had 3 cartilage surgeries in both knees and 2 ACL reconstructions in the same knee. 1st ACL reconstruction was botched and 2nd ACL reconstruction was a revision. My knees have never been the same. They feel better and I can exercise but occasionally, the ACL insulted knee feels sore and tender if I walk all day at a park, mall, amusement park or any extended public outing.

 

Try taking OTC Glucosamine Chondroitin Triple Flex (ask your doctor 1st) ice and elevate your ankle A LOT. Icing and elevating helps relieve pain and inflammation. RICE = Rest, ice, elevate.

 

I wouldn't attempt jogging and skating. No way. Ask your orthopedist if you can flex your ankle with band exercises while on the couch or bed. Or, water exercises without impact. Go easy on your ankle. Watch youtube videos but consult with your orthopedist first.

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Can you skate at all, not roller derby intensity, but just generally around in circles?

 

I can skate some laps, maybe 5-6 at a time, before I had to sit. But after only about half an hour or so, the pain becomes intolerable.

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Unfortunately, arthritis sets in after the body had been invaded with orthopedic surgery. I know because I've since had 3 cartilage surgeries in both knees and 2 ACL reconstructions in the same knee. 1st ACL reconstruction was botched and 2nd ACL reconstruction was a revision. My knees have never been the same. They feel better and I can exercise but occasionally, the ACL insulted knee feels sore and tender if I walk all day at a park, mall, amusement park or any extended public outing.

 

Try taking OTC Glucosamine Chondroitin Triple Flex (ask your doctor 1st) ice and elevate your ankle A LOT. Icing and elevating helps relieve pain and inflammation. RICE = Rest, ice, elevate.

 

I wouldn't attempt jogging and skating. No way. Ask your orthopedist if you can flex your ankle with band exercises while on the couch or bed. Or, water exercises without impact. Go easy on your ankle. Watch youtube videos but consult with your orthopedist first.

 

Basically all I've been doing is walking and small things to stretch it out, but these aren't enough to work out the stiffness; that's why I know I need to increase what I'm doing, but not sure how much is too much. I'll call my surgeon today.

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Do you wear the brace when you are not skating?

 

I had a posterior tibial replacement 3 years back, due to my tendon snapping. i cannot do everything that I had done in the past, such as, running and wearing a lot of the shoes I love. I have had to make adjustments, as i have had no choice. On the bright side, i can walk great distances and still hike :) You may have to let the skating go for now-and maybe permanently-and take up different sports. Nothing would be worse if you screwed up your ankle permanently.

 

I am grateful that i can still walk, as my recovery was long. I did not think I would ever be able to walk normally again. Please continue to use the brace when needed, as I have found that i have to use it periodically.

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Do you wear the brace when you are not skating?

 

I had a posterior tibial replacement 3 years back, due to my tendon snapping. i cannot do everything that I had done in the past, such as, running and wearing a lot of the shoes I love. I have had to make adjustments, as i have had no choice. On the bright side, i can walk great distances and still hike :) You may have to let the skating go for now-and maybe permanently-and take up different sports. Nothing would be worse if you screwed up your ankle permanently.

 

I am grateful that i can still walk, as my recovery was long. I did not think I would ever be able to walk normally again. Please continue to use the brace when needed, as I have found that i have to use it periodically.

 

I rarely use a brace, as my ankle doesn't hurt most days - just extreme stiffness. It only hurts with prolonged exertion.

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I always wear a brace if I know that i will be walking more than a mile. I also bring it with me, just in case the ankle starts acting up. Be careful with the other foot, as it can take on the brunt of the injured one, then you have issues with that foot or hip.

 

Foot injuries suck!

Edited by Hollyj
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I can skate some laps, maybe 5-6 at a time, before I had to sit. But after only about half an hour or so, the pain becomes intolerable.

 

I hate to tell you this, but healing takes longer as we get older. You are by no means old, but you are around the age where I first started to notice this myself. Things won't snap back into shape as quickly as they did when you were younger. But that doesn't mean that you won't heal.

 

What I would suggest is skate those five or six laps and then stop for the night. The moment it starts to hurt, stop doing it. Pain = stop. Don't wait for "intolerable."

 

This way, you'll condition the muscles gently while also giving them time to complete the healing process. Do this regularly for a couple of weeks, then see if adding extra laps or exertion still causes pain.

 

Also continue those rotation exercises.

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