How to Rehabilitate an Ankle Avulsion Fracture

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Things You'll Need

  • Ice
  • Crutches
  • Walking cast
  • Towel
  • Surgical tubing

An avulsion fracture occurs when a ligament or tendon attached to a bone pulls away a fragment of the bone. They often occur with severe ankle sprains and typically do not require surgery. Athletes typically suffer avulsion fractures due to the amount of force required to break or avulse a bone. In order to prevent reinjury and regain range of motion, rehabilitation of the injury is critical. Athletes concerned with restoring their strength and speed must adhere to daily rehabilitation therapy.

Step 1

Apply ice and elevate the injured ankle above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.

Step 2

Use crutches and/or a walking cast until your physician determines you can place weight on your foot. Depending on the severity of the injury, this period of immobilization could last from two to four weeks.

Step 3

Begin range-of-motion exercises to promote healing and flexibility in the injured ankle. Perform a set of exercises consisting of 10 to 30 repetitions; repeat the exercises three to five times a day. Range of motion exercises include tracing the alphabet with your toe or placing your foot flat on the ground and slowly moving your knee side to side.

Step 4

Start exercises to stretch your Achilles tendon once you can do so without pain. The Achilles tendon connects the connects the calf muscles on the back of the lower leg to the bone at the base of the heel. Sit with your knee straight and a towel looped around the ball of your foot, then gently pull the ends of the towel until your feel your calf stretch. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and perform 15 to 20 repetitions. Do these exercises three to six times a day.

Step 5

Increase strength and stability once you can stand without pain or swelling. Push your foot outward against an immovable object such a wall. Once this exercise feels comfortable, loop surgical tubing around the foot and push outward against it to increase resistance. Hold these positions for 3 to 5 seconds and repeat 15 to 20 times once or twice a day.

Step 6

Start balance and control exercises to prevent reinjury and strengthen the injured ankle. Stand on the injured foot while holding your arms out to the side and balance for 60 seconds. Once you can easily accomplish this, try closing your eyes, holding your arms to your chest or doing both at the same time.

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