Ankle exercises

Ankle exercises are vital if you want your leg to be strong again.



These activities are simple and vital after you have injured your lower leg. It could be a pulled muscle, as in the calf, for example, or sprained ligaments as can happen if your turned your subtalar joint.

Scar tissue forms after injury making the soft tissues shorten and contract.

Unattended, this scar can make the injured joint permanently stiff, altering the way you walk, your gait, with a knock on effect on the knee, hip, pelvis and back.

It is important to regularly stretch after injury to ensure that a healthy and supple scar forms. Otherwise you're going to be needing more ankle sprain treatment in the future. Prevention, that's what it's about. Don't let this happen.



Sprained ankle



First the subluxated bone(s) in the ankle (usually the talus, calcaneus or cuboid bones) must be corrected with a chiropractic help adjustment, and then simple mobilising ankle exercises are vital to keep the joint supple and free. It also helps disperse any fluid that has built up after a sprain or fracture. Is your ankle swollen? For more about a sprained ankle, click here SPRAINED ANKLE ...

The alternative is chronic foot pain.

Use of a natural anti-inflammatory like olive oil (taken internally) is also recommended. Frequently the cartilage is injured in the sprain, and to prevent the possibility of arthritis setting in, we need to use as many different modalities as possible: adjustment of the subluxation, mobilisation of the joint, exercise, anti-arthritis nutrition ... for more about olive oil benefits, chicken bone stock, fish oil health benefits and Glucosamine Chondroitin sulphate for all sporting injuries and general good health, click here:


STOP PRESS: Stones in my Clog, my third book has just become available for the first time as an ebook for just $2.99.


  • Chiropractic Conditions is a central page at Chiropractic Help. It provides you simply and easily with the sorts of conditions that the average chiropractor would be treating.
  • Healthy Living Tips is another vital page at Chiropractic Help. Sparkling good health is not just about having your subluxations adjusted. Our healthy living tips page gives you some insights into different foods you could and perhaps should be eating.


Alphabet ankle exercises

Ankle exercises are the key to a healthy leg after a lower limb injury.

Sit deep in a chair, with your leg stretched out in front of you, and a bare foot. Imagine that you are going to trace the letters of the alphabet, starting with the capitals, in the air with your big toe.

Dorsiflex your foot by lifting your toes up towards your head, and then trace out the letter A. Do five every time you have a cup of tea, or glass of water.



This exercise is active. You are using the muscles of the leg to move the foot.

You could also do it passively by hooking a dud bicycle tube under the forefoot and pulling your ankle into dorsiflexion using your hands. Then allow gravity to drop the limb again.

Go through the alphabet at least once a day.

The beauty of these alphabet exercises is that they are non weight bearing so, no matter how bad your injury or how much arthritis you have, they won't be very painful.

Like swimming, non weight bearing exercises benefit arthritis and help regain the full range of motion. It's interesting that gentle movement actually polishes away the crystals that form in the joint where the hyaline cartilage has been damaged, and perhaps worn right through.


Ligaments

Gentle stretching of sprained ligaments is important. The alphabet ankle exercises are equally effective for your ligaments.



"If it's not fun, it's not worth doing. And it doesn't have to be silly. It can be hard work and it can be edgy. It can be a lot of things. But it can also be fun."

Robert Redford



Muscles

An ankle sprain often strains muscles and their tendons. Most particularly the muscles on the side of your lower leg (called the Peronei; there are three, Longus, Brevis and Tertius) together with the gastrocnemius and its Achilles tendon.

To exercise the Peronei, lie on the floor and hook your kapot bicycle tube over your foot, and the other end over some fixed point on the other side of your foot. Start by pulling the toes towards your head against the pull of the tube, then do it an an angle. They are difficult muscles to stretch without putting undue stress on the injured joints.


To exercise the Gastrocnemius mucles (and its oft forgotten companion, the Soleus, the cause of Shin Splints stand on a hard floor, go up on your toes. Start using both feet together, gradually putting more weight on the injured foot. Do this regularly through the day.

To make it more difficult, stand on the balls of your feet on a step. Go up on your toes, and then sink deep, before flexing your ankle again. Do it with the ankle guard on to begin.

These are simple and effective ankle exercises, things you can do for yourself. They cost nothing, just a little time and discipline! Otherwise you will be visiting your chiropractor endlessly! Saving you time, saving you money ...



To stretch the Achilles, stand with your injured leg about a metre from a wall. Put the other foot forwards. Reaching forwards, keeping your heel on the ground, stretch the achilles,

  • first with the knee straight, and
  • then slightly bent.

You won't be able to do this if the talus is still fixated - you will get sharp pain, deep within the ankle. First have the joint adjusted.




Buy yourself a wobble board to do proprioception training after an ankle injury. Start with sports shoes to give the ankle support, but graduate as soon as possible to bare feet when doing your ankle exercises.



Walking

Walking is, of course, the best of your outdoor ankle exercises. Normally we would suggest that you don't walk on tarmac or concrete but, in this instance, it is recommended.

That joint can turn again very easily if the ligaments have been torn. So go walking initially on a level surface, with your ankle support and good shoes.



How do I know? Because I've done it myself, with excruciating ankle joint pain all over again.

Then graduate to level grass for your next level of exercises, finally removing the ankle guard and even your shoes. This immediate contact between your foot and the ground gives your lower limb intimate contact with the brain in what we call proprioception. Actually, it's training your central nervous system.

Here's another suggestion. When you are done with your wobble board and ankle exercises, give it to Mum for a Christmas present. Research shows that elderly persons who do proprioceptive training of the brain are far less inclined to fall and break a hip. You can read more about this in one of the back issues of our monthly newsletter. Signing up at the bottom of this page gives you access to all the back issues from Chiropractic Help. They are free.

For more about the benefits of walking, click here … WALKING BENEFITS >>



Chiropractic

The ankle is less prone to arthritis than the knee and hip, and neck, for example but, after injury, should any joint remain fixated, it will become prone to so-called immobilisation arthritis.

Think ankle exercises; they are a vital part of chiropractic care of any injured joint. Free flow of the synovial fluid within the joint is imperative for healthy hyaline cartilage. Otherwise, this is what you get ...


This ANKLE JOINT PAIN CaseFile is of a 36 year old woman who fell down the stairs 11 years ago. Ever since she has walked on her toes.

The obese are also prone to debilitating arthritis in the ankle and knee. It's a combination of simply too much weight on the cartilage, and the poor nutrition that allowed you to become so large in the first place. So, more ankle exercises. Not dealing with these issues means that a life without medication becomes a pipe dream. 

  • Prevention is the key when we're discussing ankle joint pain. Restoring the normal joint movement, and rehabbing the muscles and ligaments with these simple ankle exercises is vital. However, the past is set in concrete. If you have advanced arthritis of the ankle, then amazing new developments with an external distraction device is proving very successful, allowing the cartilage to be restored by taking the weight off the damaged cartilage, whilst allowing full movement within the joint. Click here for more info. ANKLE and KNEE JOINT DISTRACTION ...


  • Shin splints

    Shin splints is a miserable condition that sportsmen and women get; the pain in down the inner shin bone. The muscles involved operate the foot, so gentle ankle exercises are a vital part of healing.


    Surgery

    I'm a believer in good surgery, when conservative measures have been exhausted. A good surgeon can do wonders. I'm treating a lady right now who fractured her heel into a dozen fragments when she fell down the stairs. The orthopaedic surgeon, a woman to boot, did an excellent job. Freeing up the fixations in her foot has got her walking almost normally again.

    Sometimes one simply has no alternative to the possible complications of surgery ...

    Of course the greatest risks of surgery are often in reality the dangers of a general anaesthetic ...


    Useful links



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    » Exercises



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    Interesting challenges of the day

    1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

    2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

    3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

    Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

    4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

    He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

    5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

    6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

    7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

    8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

    9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

    10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

    11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

    12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

    13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

    And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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