When you suffer an injury to the foot or ankle, it can take weeks or months to heal. “We do see quite a bit of ankle injuries, whether they’re sports related or senior-related, recreational sports, things like that,” said Neisa Rodriguez, a physical therapist with Lee Health.
Rodriguez works with patients to get them back to their normal routine. “We address their pain, range of motion, their muscle weakness, balance issues if they have any, and from there we treat their pain with different modalities, laser, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, cryotherapy,” she said.
But the techniques and exercises go beyond the injured joint. Physical therapists also assess the muscles and joints around the injury, including the knee, the hip, and the back. “Those deficits can lead to further injury either to the same joint or even on other joints,” said Rodriguez.
The goal is to improve a patient’s mobility, strength, and balance. “So, strength issues are addressed with strengthening exercises, weights, thera-bands, stability ball. Then the balance exercises that we can do are usually on even and uneven surfaces, static balance, dynamic balance,” she said.
Whether it’s a sprain or a break, physical therapy exercises are designed specifically for each patient to help them recover faster.