THE ANKLE: EXERCISES FOR ARTHRITIS OF ANKLE
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I have been advising my patients to exercise, keep active, and walk as long as they can in order to stay mobile and healthy. However, seniors and others suffering from repeated trauma such as fractures and sprains, often tell me activities that require prolonged walking is limited by ankle pain from arthritis. They often ask, “What is arthritis of the ankle?” How does it happen? What can I do about it?
Gerry Davis, assistant baseball coach at Lackawanna College, is a typical example of the ankle arthritis journey. He has suffered for many years from ankle arthritis and pain. He sustained repeated injuries as a young athlete and, when conservative treatment was no longer effective and he was no longer able to walk without a painful limp, he had an ankle replacement. However, to maintain function he exercises every day. Moreover, he performs exercise specifically for strength and mobility of his ankle.
ANKLE RANGE OF MOTION EXERCISES
- GAS PEDAL –While sitting in a chair with heels on the floor, move your foot up and down as if working the gas pedal of a car.
- WINDSHIELD WIPER –While sitting in a chair with heels on the floor, move your foot side to side like a windshield wiper of a car. ONLY MOVE THE ANKLE …DO NOT MOVE THE LEG.
- ALPHABET-- While sitting in a chair with heels on the floor, move your ankle to form each capital letter of the alphabet. You will have to lift your ankle a few inches off the floor.
ANKLE STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
- SEATED CALF RAISE – (PHOTO A) While sitting in a chair with feet on the floor, push the ball of your feet into the floor and raise your heels up.
- RESISTANCE BAND GAS PEDAL – PUSH DOWN - (PHOTO B) While sitting in a chair with heels on the floor, loop the exercise band across the ball of your foot and hold the band tightly. Push your foot down against the resistance band as if working the gas pedal of a car.
- SEATED TOE RAISE – (PHOTO C) While sitting in a chair with feet on the floor, while resting your heels on the floor, raise your toes up.
- RESISTANCE BAND GAS PEDAL – PULL UP – (PHOTO D) Tie a band to the leg of a table and sit in a chair facing the table leg with heels on the floor. Then, loop the exercise band across the top of your foot and pull your foot up against the resistance band as if releasing the gas pedal of a car.
- RESISTANCE BAND WINDSHIELD WIPER – TURN IN – (PHOTO E) Tie a band to the leg of a table and sit in a chair turned away with the table leg on the right side with heels on the floor. Then, loop the exercise band across the top of your right foot and turn your foot in against the resistance band, moving your right ankle like a wiper from right to left.
- RESISTANCE BAND WINDSHIELD WIPER TURN OUT – (PHOTO F) Tie a band to the leg of a table and sit in a chair turned away with the table leg on the left side with heels on the floor. Then loop the exercise band across the top of your right foot and turn your right foot out against the resistance band as moving your right ankle like a wiper from left to right.
Photo A - Seated Calf Raise
Photo B - Resistance Band Gas Pedal - Push Down
Photo C - Seated Toe Raise
Photo D - Resistance Band Gas Pedal - Pull Up
Photo E - Resistance Band Windshield Wiper Turn-In
Photo F - Resistance Band Windshield Wiper Turn Out
AEROBIC EXERCISE FOR THOSE WITH ANKLE PAIN
- EXERCISE BIKE –If you really want to work hard for 45 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise, an exercise bike may be the best choice for those with ankle pain. It is a partial weight-bearing activity and with proper seat position, should be reasonably comfortable.
- SOFT BED TREADMILL – SOFT TRACK WALKING--Walking is a full-weight bearing activity. If you limp due to ankle pain, long distance walking will lead to a host of other problems such as lower back pain. If you can walk without pain, use a treadmill with a soft bed or find a walking trail or track with a soft surface. Be sure to wear good running sneakers with support and cushion.
- SWIMMING--If you’re a good swimmer, this may be your best option for aerobic exercise for those with ankle pain.
- WATER AEROBICS--The buoyancy effect of the water allows less weight through your joints and makes this a great choice for those with ankle pain.
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum” in the Scranton Times-Tribune.
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.