Ankle fractures take time to heal no matter if you have a simple break or many. Because while your foot has been cooped up in some sort of cast for the last few months, the remaining support structures have been on a break of their own. As a result, all those surrounding muscles and ligaments have had no choice but to become more weakened.
But just how can help your ankle return to its sturdier self? Most doctors recommend physiotherapy which works to restore your range of motion while re-gaining muscle tone and strength throughout the affected ankle joint. This type of guided treatment is ideal as it helps you regain stability under the care of a clinician who ensures you’re not overdoing it. Rush the recovery process though, and you may well end up with another injury.
Ankle Fracture Symptoms
- Immediate swelling (typically)
- Bone deformity may be seen
- inability to weight-bear
- X-ray Images
- Severe pain
Ankle Fracture Rehab
- Provide effective treatments and therapeutic approaches designed to relieve and ease your ankle pain.
- Offers preventative strategies to help you deal with lifestyle, work, and other risk factors.
- Addresses the root cause of ankle pain as well as the symptoms.
- Prescribes appropriate stretches, strengthening exercises, and movements that you can do at home to encourage continuous improvement and progress.
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Find a Clinic
Most likely you will be in some form of cast between five to eight weeks following an ankle fracture. Once the cast is removed however, physiotherapy becomes necessary in order to properly restore your range of motion, gait pattern, and overall strength. The pt Health Ankle Fracture Recovery Program addresses these needs in a three phase process. Take a look at how we do it.
Assess Your Condition
During your initial assessment at pt Health, your physiotherapist will evaluate your ankle bone position, walking pattern, range of motion, strength, and joint mobility. If pain and swelling are a concern you may also receive ultrasound therapy as long as there are no surgical pins/screws. Additional modalities can include IFC, ice, and heat. Plus, if you have had surgery for your ankle fracture, hands-on manipulation will be used to minimize scar tissue.
In order to foster healing your therapist will want to get your ankle bones moving in the right direction while applying proper stress. To achieve this goal, your physiotherapist will want to restore your walking pattern right away. But don’t worry; typically a walking aid is required to achieve this initial balance.
And while its your ankle that has suffered a fracture, expect your physiotherapist to have you work on strengthening the knee and hip as well so your assistive walking muscles have a chance to recuperate too.
Fractured Ankle Recovery Time
Initially it’s best to see your physiotherapist for treatment often. For some patients this could be three to five times a week. As you become stronger, visits will become less, until eventually you are ready to return to your normal activities. Overall, rehab for a post ankle fracture could take between 12 to 18 weeks.
“While out shopping, I stepped down off the curb and straight onto the ice. As a result, I suffered an ankle fracture and needed surgery to pin two of the bones together,” said Nancy.
Nancy was under a lot of pressure to get better so she could return back to work. Her doctor recommended physiotherapy to assist with her recovery. At first she was hesitant about trying physiotherapy, but after realizing that ice and staying off her ankle wasn’t helping her regain her strength she reached out for treatment at pt Health.
“When she came in for treatment, Nancy had a problem with her gait pattern,” said Jennifer, her physiotherapist. “She was compensating for the pain with her opposing ankle. And while she was using crutches to help her get around, the rest of her leg muscles were also starting to weaken. Lack of muscle tone in addition to a loss in range of motion her hip and knee joint were the feeling the effects. So we had lots of work to do.”
Nancy’s treatment started with hands-on massage three days a week in order to reduce some of the left over scar tissue from her ankle surgery. Jennifer also introduced acupuncture to treat her pain during this time. Once her pain and swelling were addressed it was time to move onto an exercise program which had her walking on the treadmill, stretching, and toning exercises.
Today, Nancy still feels mild pain on occasion, but overall feels much better since her fall onto the ice. “I make sure to do my foot exercises while I am standing behind the front desk,” said Nancy. She also continues to do her home exercises and has no plans of reaching for the crutches again.
At pt Health, we know that sorting out insurance paperwork can be time-consuming and confusing. We want your focus to be on getting well and staying well. With that in mind, we do our best to help you navigate through the necessary forms. We speak with your insurance providers and we’ll answer any questions you may have about your coverage.
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For any treatments that are only partially covered, you may be asked to co-pay the difference at each visit.