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They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab and I said, yes, yes, yes!

That would be rehab for my ankle! What did you think?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I fractured my ankle six weeks ago. August 9th to be exact. If you are really curious about the detail of my injury, I was diagnosed with a "closed fracture of the lateral malleolus". The recovery and rehab of this injury is similar to that of an ankle sprain. So if you have ever had this type of injury, you will probably notice some similarities in the rehab exercises.

I saw the doctor (orthopedic) last week and he could see in the X-rays that the fracture was healing at the pace he expected and my recovery was moving along well. Phew! Fractures like mine tend to take about 6-8 weeks to heal and I am well on my way. He instructed me to wear the boot through the weekend and then I should start physical therapy. Due to pandemic (yes I know the numbers are dropping or holding still here in NJ, but I feel like the less places I go the better) I asked if I could maybe do telemedicine as I have injured my ankle before and I was familiar with the rehab exercises, and I went on to name a few. His face actually lit up a bit and said he would be happy to give me exercises to do at home. I was thrilled!

Now don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of physical therapy. If you ask me (and it is my blog so even if you didn't I am going to tell you), it is where the true healing happens. Doctors are great at what they do and will diagnose you....but the physical therapist is the person that will get you back to your normal self. Probably even better!

However, I have been there before with an injured ankle. I know the drill. Plus, I started feeling that toward the end of my PT session they were just making stuff up. (Ok, they probably weren't, but this is when health insurance paid for EVERYTHING, including each PT visit--no copay needed by me) CRISSY FLASHBACK: My ankle was pretty much back to where it was and I think they just needed to challenge me more and I still had a few sessions left on my PT prescription. Now, I am NOT making this up. They had me stand on my injured foot only, throw a light medicine ball at a trampoline standing on its side, then catch it as it returned. I wish I could show a photo. I am sure I had a cell phone back then, but I don't think it took photos.

Moving back to current day...

Today marks day one of my at home PT. Let's see how I did...(I won't go through all the exercises and bore you, I will just focus on some highlights)

First up was a towel stretch. The instructions said if this stretch was easy, I could try the others. It was, so I did. I actually had a yoga strap nearby and did the trick. The stretch felt fine, so moved on.

Here is where the fun starts. As a pilates instructor, I have bands of various resistance. I started with the lightest one I had and did my best. I can't say my ankle "hurt", it just felt like I couldn't move it as much as the other. The strength just wasn't there. It reminded me when I tried to do an ab curl once my doctor cleared me to exercise after having a c-section. I lied down on the floor on my back with my knees bent. I was willing myself to curl my head, neck, and shoulders off the ground, but almost nothing was happening!

I was able to move my ankle a bit, and like I said there was not really much pain, so I am sure it is just stiff from being inactive in that boot for six weeks. I did my best to flex/point/invert/evert as best I could. I have to remember, it is day 1. In the photo on the left, I am bringing my toes toward me to dorsiflex my ankle.I actually did that prior to this exercise without the band. The resistance band is an excellent prop to use during rehabilitation.

In the photo below I am inverting my ankle using the band/door as resistance to help with the strengthening.

Heel raises. Here is where it gets more interesting. I am pretty sure the last time I was in PT I had to do heel raises, but not like this. I was channeling my inner barre instructor for this one. I had to stand behind a chair or counter with both feet flat on the floor. Using either of those for balance, I had to rise up on my toes and hold for 5 seconds. Then, I had to slowly lower myself down without holding on for support (if I could). The instructions then said when this exercise becomes less painful, to try doing the exercise while standing only on injured leg. Yeah, that didn't happen today. But I was able to lower back down to the floor without holding on. thank you core strength!!! So who says Barre class never comes in handy????

The sequence of exercises included a stretch of the calf muscles. The directions actually said to do this stretches several times a day. You can see above I am using a wall to lean into to assist with the stretch.

I admit, my ankle felt sore and fatigued after completing all the exercises, so I was sure to stretch and ice after they were all complete.

Have you ever done physical therapy? Good or bad experience? Feel free to share.

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