Ankle Fracture: Rehab Exercises

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Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of typical rehabilitation exercises for your condition. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Calf stretch (knee straight)

Picture of how to do calf stretch with towel
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slide 1 of 10, Calf stretch (knee straight),

Note: For this exercise, you will need a towel.

  1. Sit with your affected leg straight and supported on the floor. Your other leg should be bent, with that foot flat on the floor.
  2. Place a towel around your affected foot just under the toes.
  3. Hold one end of the towel in each hand, with your hands above your knees.
  4. Pull back gently with the towel so that your foot stretches toward you.
  5. Hold the position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat 2 to 4 times a session, up to 5 sessions a day.

Calf stretch (knee bent)

Picture of how to do lower calf stretch with towel
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slide 2 of 10, Calf stretch (knee bent),

Note: For this exercise, you will need a towel. You will also need a pillow or foam roll.

  1. Sit with your affected leg straight and supported on the floor. Your other leg should be bent, with that foot flat on the floor.
  2. Place a pillow or foam roll under your affected leg.
  3. Place a towel around your affected foot just under the toes.
  4. Hold one end of the towel in each hand, with your hands above your knees.
  5. Pull back gently with the towel so that your foot stretches toward you.
  6. Hold the position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  7. Repeat 2 to 4 times a session, up to 5 sessions a day.

Ankle plantar flexion

Picture of how to do ankle plantar flexion exercise
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slide 3 of 10, Ankle plantar flexion,
  1. Sit with your affected leg straight and supported on the floor. Your other leg should be bent, with that foot flat on the floor.
  2. Keeping your affected leg straight, gently flex your foot downward so your toes are pointed away from your body. Then slowly relax your foot to the starting position.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Ankle dorsiflexion

Picture of how to do ankle dorsiflexion exercise
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slide 4 of 10, Ankle dorsiflexion,
  1. Sit with your affected leg straight and supported on the floor. Your other leg should be bent, with that foot flat on the floor.
  2. Keeping your affected leg straight, gently flex your foot back toward your body so your toes point upward. Then slowly relax your foot to the starting position.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Resisted ankle plantar flexion

Picture of how to do ankle plantar flexion exercise
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slide 5 of 10, Resisted ankle plantar flexion,

Note: For the next four exercises, you will need elastic exercise material, such as surgical tubing or Thera-Band.

  1. Sit with your affected leg straight and supported on the floor. Your other leg should be bent, with that foot flat on the floor.
  2. Place an elastic band around your affected foot just under the toes.
  3. Hold each end of the band in each hand, with your hands above your knees.
  4. Keeping your affected leg straight, gently flex your foot downward so your toes are pointed away from your body. Then slowly relax your foot to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Resisted ankle dorsiflexion

Picture of how to do resisted ankle dorsiflexion exercise
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slide 6 of 10, Resisted ankle dorsiflexion,
  1. Tie the ends of an exercise band together to form a loop. Attach one end of the loop to a secure object, like a table leg, or shut a door on it to hold it in place. (Or you can have someone hold one end of the loop to provide resistance.)
  2. While sitting on the floor or in a chair, loop the other end of the band over the top of your affected foot.
  3. Keeping your knee and leg straight, slowly flex your foot toward you to pull back on the exercise band, and then slowly relax.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Resisted ankle inversion

Picture of how to do resisted ankle inversion exercise
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slide 7 of 10, Resisted ankle inversion,
  1. Sit on the floor with your good leg crossed over your other leg.
  2. Hold both ends of an exercise band and loop the band around the inside of your affected foot. Then press your good foot against the band.
  3. Keeping your legs crossed, slowly push your affected foot against the band so that foot moves away from your good foot. Then slowly relax.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Resisted ankle eversion

Picture of how to do resisted ankle eversion exercise
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slide 8 of 10, Resisted ankle eversion,
  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight.
  2. Hold both ends of an exercise band and loop the band around the outside of your affected foot. Then press your good foot against the band.
  3. Keeping your leg straight, slowly push your affected foot outward against the band and away from your good foot without letting your leg rotate. Then slowly relax.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Ankle alphabet

Picture of how to do ankle alphabet exercise
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slide 9 of 10, Ankle alphabet,
  1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. (You can also do this exercise lying on your back with your affected leg propped up on a pillow).
  2. Lift the heel of your affected foot off the floor, and slowly trace the letters of the alphabet.

Heel raises

Picture of how to do heel raises while standing
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slide 10 of 10, Heel raises,
  1. Stand with your feet 8 to 10 centimetres apart, with your hands lightly resting on a counter or chair in front of you.
  2. Slowly raise your heels off the floor while keeping your knees straight.
  3. Hold for about 6 seconds, then slowly lower your heels to the floor.
  4. Do 8 to 12 repetitions several times during the day.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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