My ankles are finally getting to the point where I can start to do active recovery. After an injury, rest is super important and vital to recovery, but eventually, you’ll be recovered enough to restart activity, but your muscles and joints in the injured area might be weakened and not quite ready to rejoin the party. This is where active recovery comes in. Active recovery is slowly reintroducing activities that build the range of motion and strength of an injured area.
One of the biggest bugs I’m dealing with on my ankles right now is a distinct stiffness. My ankles have been wrapped in bandages and braces for the past few weeks and I’ve quickly lost a lot of flexibility in those joints. The first stage of my active recovery is gaining back range of motion. The goal of these exercises is not to strengthen my ankles, but to stretch the muscles and tendons to regain my previous flexibility levels.
Before I share my routine with you, a word of warning: I am not a physical therapist or a doctor. Please consult your physician before starting any sort of physical therapy plan especially if you have a previous or current injury. When doing range of motion exercises, pain is bad. You want a stretch, not pain.
As mentioned in my goals post yesterday, I’ll be doing these exercises for 15 minutes, three times this week. Depending on my flexibility progress, I’ll probably increase the frequency for next week.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Sitting in a chair (or laying on my bed), I raise my foot and then do circles for about 15-30 seconds clockwise, then switch to counter-clockwise and then switch to the other ankle.
This one makes my shins burn! Sitting in a chair with my feet on the ground, I first raise my toes, then put my feet back on the ground and then raise my heels. I repeat this for a few minutes.
This one sounds all fun and easy, but gets pretty hard. Sitting in a chair or laying on my back, I raise my foot and use it like a pencil to write out the alphabet. First I do all caps with one foot, then all caps with the other. Then repeat with lowercase. By then time I get to lowercase set, my legs are burning (a good burn, not a painful burn).
I do these three exercises on repeat for 10-15 minutes of each physical therapy “session”. Hopefully I’ll be as good as new in no time!