Aerobic Exercise With Sprained Ankle

Frequently Asked Questions

    What exercise can I do without stressing my ankle?
    I recently sprained my ankle and will have to wear an air cast for another 2-3 months. I’m getting out of shape and putting on weight because I am not out doing things like I usually am. I’ve been doing what yoga I can without putting much stress on the ankle, but obviously walking and jogging are out, and most other exercise I can think of involves being on your feet. Even push ups are out of the question.

    So, what exercise CAN I do? My apartment complex has free weights and weight machines as well as aerobic equipment, but I’m not really familiar with using any of it. Suggestions? Thanks for the help!
    If you’re just going to answer with a link to a questionable website or the name of some magical supplement or weight loss drug, don’t bother answering.

    • ANSWER:
      Swimming is great excercise and the weightless environment puts literally zero strain on joints and injuries. If you can swing it, join a healthclub with a pool. Any pool will do. Hope this works for you!

    What Type Of Shoes Are Best To Prevent Ankle Sprains..?
    I’ve had 3 ankle sprains during this year. Usually after the sprain I cast my leg for a week, then after removing the cast, I just rest for couple more weeks until my sprained ankle feels perfectly fine. Only to go back to exercising and sprain it again.

    People kept telling me to change my shoes, I didn’t listen to them. Until the third ankle sprain.
    What I do is, Aerobic step dancing, fast one. What I’m wearing is (as they told me) running shoes. Which is unsuitable for this kind of workout.

    They recommended me either Basketball, Handball or Tennis shoes. I’ve tried all of them but I’m not sure which one is good for my situation.

    I also wear ankle braces, the cotton ones, and not the solid ones(Plastic filled with air) which I find more useful but a lot more expensive.

    My leg now feels fine, I want to go back to exercising, but I’m afraid I injure my leg again, so this time I want to take precautions as much as I can, before heading to the gym.

    • ANSWER:
      My recommendation to you is that before you return to exercise that you get a referral to a physical therapist. The reason for this is that you have damaged the ligaments 3 times within the course of this year. That tells me that the ligaments are not working as they should and most important that your sense of where the foot is in space is decreased. This sense is called proprioception. When this sense is decreased or absent it means that the joint doesn’t respond the way that it should. The muscles are not quick enough to stabilize the ankle. So in reality it is not going to matter what kind of shoes that you are wearing. The trick to rehabbing ankles is to regain this sense. A physical therapist can help you with this. Here are a few of those types of movements. When you do these exercises always start with the good leg first as it increases the sense of awareness in the injured leg. Stand on your good foot and raise up the injured leg so that it is not touching the floor. Stay in that position working up to the point where you are able to do it for 30 seconds straight. Do that 3 times on the good foot and then do the injured foot 3 times. Now do the same movement in the same order with your eyes closed. This becomes a very difficult exercise so make sure that objects around you will not cause you harm if you lose your balance. There are a whole series of these movements to improve your balance both statically and dynamically.

    Questions – Ankle Arthroscopy?
    I’m 19 and suffered an avulsion fracture in early 2007 that tore part of my medial malleolus (distal tibia) off and did significant ligament damage after an extreme eversion accident; this is on top of two previous grade 3 sprains on the lateral aspect of the same ankle in the 3 years preceding. I saw an orthopedic surgeon at the time and the course of management we went with was 6 weeks in a walking weight-bearing cast (‘moon boot’) with physiotherapy; I was warned it could be 6 months to a year before all the mobility and stability in that ankle was restored. Since then I have been patient with the ankle despite the fact it is often stiff and sometimes quite sore, and looks permanently swollen. However, about 4 weeks ago I started a new exercise program (about 3 hours of training a day, comprising a mixture of walking/jogging, step & aerobic classes, spin classes and cardio circuit work). The ankle held up well for about 2 weeks and then became gradually more and more painful; despite RICEing after every workout session the pain did not subside, but steadily got worse. I had a CT scan of the ankle done last week at my GP’s office which showed non-union of the fracture, and several loose bone fragments in the joint; the scan also showed significant joint effusion. I am scheduled to see my orthopedic surgeon next week to discuss arthroscopy to remove the bone fragments and examine the ligaments, which my GP said was probably the only option to fix the ankle.

    I have some questions about the arthroscopy – can anyone whose had one (not just on the ankle but anywhere) tell me what their experience was like in terms of the actual procedure, recovery time, success of the operation, current state of the joint after surgery, etc?


    • ANSWER:
      usually good results with just a few weeks recovery