From mobility to balance, even strength—physical therapists say all can be affected after an ankle injury. “It’s really important to address those limitations that way the patient is healthy physically and educating the patient on proper footwear, if they need orthotics maybe, also postural awareness, body mechanics,” Said Neisa Rodriguez, a physical therapist with Lee Health.
Ankle injuries can take several weeks to heal—during that time, other deficits can occur, causing injury to the same joint and other joints. “When you’re not using the injured joint, you could lose that mobility, and you lose that strength, so the importance of physical therapy is regaining full range of motion and strengthening balance,” she said.
When recovering from an injury, physical therapists can teach patients safe movements to improve their balance, mobility, and strength. Exercises that will help the patient recover faster without injuring other parts of the body. “We don’t just address the ankle, we also look at the knee, the hip, the back, because when you are walking in an abnormal gait pattern that can throw the other joints off,” said Rodriguez.
Therapists can use techniques like exercise, laser therapy, and electrical stimulation, even cryotherapy to help improve pain and muscle weakness. “If they have a specific sport or a specific recreational activity they would like to get back to, we can get into plyometric activities to help them specifically for that sport,” she said.
Techniques and exercises that can get the patient back on their feet and help them transition safely back to physical activity.