Choosing to have surgery is not an easy decision. However, if you have tried several noninvasive techniques with minimal results, surgery may be the best way for you to regain a pain-free life. For example, foot surgery is often necessary if your condition or injury severely restricts your mobility, whether walking or running.
Ankle surgery in particular may be necessary if you haven’t been able to recover from an injury to the joint. For example, you may need ankle surgery after sustaining a fracture or tearing a tendon. You may also need surgery if your ankle has been deformed by arthritis or damaged by chronic instability.
Your doctor will most likely prescribe rehabilitation treatment after your ankle surgery. However, prehab treatment for your ankle can boost your healing even before your surgery date, saving you time, energy and pain.
What is ankle prehab and why is it recommended?
Foot and ankle surgeries are steadily increasing over time. If you are seriously considering ankle surgery, it can be important to learn how to maximize your post-surgery healing and limit your post-surgery pain. Ankle prehab can help you achieve just that. Whether you are planning to have ankle replacement surgery or a different ankle surgery, ankle prehab can prepare your ankle for the intense recovery process.
Prehab is short for prehabilitation treatment, and it can include a combination of aerobic exercises and strength training. The focus of prehab is to strengthen your body so that you can best handle the side effects of surgery.
Ankle surgery can keep you bedridden for a long period of time, limit your movement and cause intense pain. Ankle prehab can strengthen your ankle joint so that it is most likely to recover quickly and with less complication. Since ankle surgery can also place your entire body at risk, ankle prehab can build your heart strength, circulation and endurance levels.
3 PT techniques that should be part of your ankle prehab
Ankle prehab exercises have been shown to decrease the prevalence of ankle injuries, including sprains. However, in order to be effective, ankle prehab programs should involve certain elements. If you’re looking for an effective and professional ankle prehab program, make sure that it includes the following modalities and techniques:
- Ankle joint strengthening — Your ankle is a powerhouse that not only holds up your body weight when you walk or run, but also propels you forward. Ankle surgery can temporarily decrease your ankle’s function and weaken the tissue surrounding your joint. Ankle prehab therapists can anticipate this and perform exercises that strengthen your ankle as well as its network of tendons and ligaments. In addition, your physical therapist can introduce you to range-of-motion exercises that simultaneously strengthen your joint and improve its mobility. These exercises can help your ankle bounce back quicker after a traumatic ankle surgery.
- Aerobic exercises — Surgery can be hard on your body. If you’re not an active person, or you have weak lungs or poor circulation, your risk of experiencing complications during surgery can increase. That’s why many prehab therapies, including ankle prehab, include aerobic exercises like cycling or swimming. These exercises can train your body to endure high-stress situations like surgery.
- An at-home treatment plan — A good ankle prehab program will empower you to continue your treatment at home. By incorporating physical therapy exercises into your daily routine, you are making sure that your treatment is consistent and effective.
In total, ankle prehab can help lessen the decrease in muscle size and any loss in strength, power, and mobility, especially when combined with a postoperative rehab exercise routine.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for ankle prehab treatment
Are you anticipating ankle surgery? You don’t have to go through it alone. At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need.
Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you prepare for your ankle surgery.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
Come find the physical therapist who can help prepare your ankle for surgery.