The ankle is the joint that connects the shinbone, or the tibia, to the upper bone of the foot. When part of the ankle has been damaged, it can affect other parts of the ankle and foot, leading to chronic ankle instability and other ankle problems. Certain ankle conditions may affect the joints of the ankle, causing stiffness and pain, and difficulty walking. Individuals with chronic ankle problems may undergo rehabilitation to regain strength in the ankle, increase flexibility, or relearn how to perform tasks such as walking.
Rehabilitation may be helpful in treating patients who may suffer from:
- Osteoarthritis of the ankle
- Ankle impingement
- Chronic ankle instability
- Ankle sprain
Although the initial methods used to treat ankle problems may vary, rehabilitation is always necessary after the initial treatment, to restore full movement and mobility to the ankle and help the patient return to all usual activities. Without proper rehabilitation, complications such as chronic pain, inflammation and weakness may cause difficulty walking and performing physical activities.
Physical therapy treatments may include:
- Muscle-strengthening exercises
- Gradual weight-bearing activities
- Range-of-motion exercises
- Balance training
Depending on the patient‘s physical job requirements or athletic activities, a physical therapist may create a tailored treatment plan. Recovery times vary for each patient, and in severe cases, a physical therapy program may be on-going to ensure full mobility is restored to the ankle.