Ankle stabilisation surgery can strengthen the ligaments that support the outside of the ankle in patients who sprain or turn their ankle regularly in spite of trying adequate physiotherapy.
At Circle Rehabilitation, we are well-equipped to help you accelerate your recovery after this type of surgery.
The first phase of your recovery will be focused on managing your pain and reducing swelling. Your lower leg will be placed in a plaster and you will be provided with elbow crutches and be instructed to take no weight or partial weight through your operated leg for at least two weeks after surgery. Throughout this time, it is advisable to elevate your lower leg regularly to help reduce swelling.
For most people, after two weeks the plaster will be removed, you will be able to take full weight on your operated ankle, and your ankle will be placed in a softer ankle/foot brace to limit movement.
The second phase of your recovery will focus on enabling you to be able to walk with a more normal gait pattern, wean off your ankle brace as quickly as possible, and strengthen your ankle and foot muscles.
For this, your physiotherapist will prescribe exercises to target each of your ankle/foot muscles, with particular emphasis on strengthening your peroneal muscles and tendons. As your strength improves, your physiotherapist will advise you on some weight bearing strengthening and balance exercises to further improve the stability of your ankle and support your lateral ligament complex.
Over this period, stretching exercises of your ankle joint into dorsiflexion (foot up position) will also be encouraged to prevent any longer-term stiffness developing (which can limit function).
The third phase will begin once your walking pattern has normalised and you have enough strength and stability to begin more complex movements and impact work. You will typically start off with light impact work such as jogging on the treadmill and exercises for ankle strength such as squats, lunges and heel raises.
Your physiotherapist will guide you but, under normal circumstances, once the strength of your operated leg is equal to your non-operated leg, you’ll be able to start activity- or sports- specific ankle rehabilitation exercises.
Remember, recovery is a journey - but Circle Rehabilitation can help you on that path. A normal time frame for a full return to sports after a lateral ankle stabilisation is nine months.