What to expect from physical therapy after ankle surgery

It’s difficult to overstate how important the ankle joint is. This joint allows people to walk, dance, jump and more. It’s also a complex joint. The ankle joint is made up of three bones, and it’s supported and moved by multiple muscles and ligaments. 

The ankle is also a joint that’s commonly injured. It’s estimated that approximately 2 million Americans visit a doctor for help with ankle pain or fractures annually. In some cases, an injury or end-stage arthritis might require surgery. Physical therapy is an option that can help people recover after ankle surgery. 

Expect these three things from physical therapy after ankle surgery

Physical therapy after ankle surgery can help you recover, but your ankle can still take a while to heal. It might take about four months for people to return to work after an ankle replacement. However, this depends on the type of work you do. 

There are several things people can expect from post-ankle surgery therapy plans. Three common things to expect are: 

  1. Passive exercises — These exercises are also called passive range-of-motion (ROM) exercises. They are passive because your therapist will move the joint for you. This allows joint structures to be stretched and strengthened without effort from you. Physical therapists often refer to such exercises as joint mobilization. 
  1. Cardiovascular exercise — This type of exercise will often take the form of riding a stationary bike. Typically, patients will start such exercise about six weeks after their surgery. You may have to wear a boot while riding the stationary bike. Initially, your therapist might recommend riding the bike without any resistance. Other cardio options your therapist may suggest are walking or swimming. 
  1. Soft tissue mobilization — It’s common for scar tissue to form in muscles and other soft tissue after an injury or surgery. Areas of scar tissue are called adhesions. Adhesions can make it harder for soft tissues to move normally. In turn, this can increase pain and reduce your ability to move the ankle. Soft tissue mobilization involves therapists manipulating the ankle tissues in ways that help break down adhesions. 

Find effective physical therapy after ankle surgery at Back in Motion

Are you wondering where to turn for effective post-ankle surgery physical therapy? Our Back in Motion team can help. We offer free screenings that are designed to help reveal issues with your ankle after surgery. Our team can then build you a personalized therapy plan that’s intended to reduce pain and speed up your recovery. 

Worried about leaving your home because of the coronavirus? Don’t worry. We offer virtual therapy and at-home therapy. These options can help you get effective physical therapy without even leaving your home. 

Contact one of our front desk coordinators today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment. 

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