WLC Days 32-36: Great News, Ankle Mobility WOD, and Veterinary Surgery

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February 16, 2014 by Lauren Grider

I have officially reached the 1 week mark since I broke my ankle. I have made insane progress in the past few days! I finally met with my orthopedist on Friday morning. Southern snow necessitated rescheduling my appointment. Twice. The receptionist was trying to put me off until next week, but I begged strongly advocated for my own care and was rewarded with an early-morning work-in appointment. By the time my appointment day finally arrived, I was relieved beyond words. The walking boot was not doing its job. Because my calves are huge, it was impossible to get it tight enough to actually support my ankle. Every step I took, I could feel my ankle shifting and popping, and the straps were leaving bruises across my shins. I was basically walking around in an ill-fitting ski boot all day. I’m a veterinarian- I just can’t be gone from work, and when I’m there, I’ve got to be up and around. I would make it through the day in the boot and come home to a massively swollen ankle with new bruising. The only saving grace was the extra day off due to snow, or else I feel I would’ve really set back my recovery.

The orthopedist put me in a brace that restricts lateral ankle movement but allows some dorsoflexion (pulling the toes toward the body) and plantar flexion (pointing the toes). The brace is similar to the lace-up variety with lateral support rods that I used to wear in highschool, but it has the added feature of figure 8 velcro strapping, which I feel makes all the difference, as well as a circumferential top strap to hold everything in place. And, it falls well below my calf, so I don’t have to be uncomfortable 24/7. I can wear the brace with a regular athletic shoe (although I need to go up in size and width with the brace on), and it gives me enough support that I can walk around pretty normally! The orthopedist explained that the thoughts on managing avulsion fractures of the lateral malleolus have changed significantly in the past few years. Previously, this sort of injury would be treated with immobilization in a cast for several weeks, and then months of physical therapy. Now, they have found that preventing lateral movement while allowing normal flexion of the ankle and low impact activity allows the injury to heal more quickly and without the need for aggressive physical therapy to undo the damage from immobilization. I am thrilled!

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As part of my recovery, I am doing at-home physical therapy with a theraband. This is not a bad idea for both ankles on a routine basis. The red theraband has very little resistance, so it works well for my injured side. I have done the exercises with my good ankle also, and it is like the red band isn’t even there. There is a huge difference in ankle strength. This was prescribed by my orthopedist. If you have an ankle injury, do not use this as a substitute for your doctor’s care. I am currently performing three complete sessions per day.

Ankle Mobility WOD

Plantar Flexion

Sit on the floor with legs extended. Tie a loop in the theraband and secure around the ball of your foot. Hold onto the other end and allow your ankle to rest at a neutral position, creating approximately a 90 degree angle between your leg and toes. Now, push the ball of your foot toward the floor using a steady, controlled motion. Slowly return to the neutral position. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions per session.

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Dorsoflexion

Sit on the floor with legs extended, facing an anchor of some type. I used the leg of my couch for the anchor. Secure the theraband to the anchor and place the loop around the ball of your foot. Allow your ankle to relax. Using a steady, controlled motion, pull your toes toward your body. Slowly return to the relaxed position. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions per session.

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External Rotation

Sit on the floor with legs extended. Secure the theraband around the ball of the affected foot and guide the theraband across the bottom of your other foot while holding onto the end of the band. Allow the affected ankle to relax with toes turned in slightly. Using a steady, controlled motion, rotate the toes of the affected foot outward. Slowly return to the relaxed position. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions per session.

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Internal Rotation

Sit on the floor with legs extended. Secure the theraband around the ball of the affected foot. Cross your legs with the normal leg on top. Guide the theraband across the bottom of your normal foot while holding onto the end of the band. Allow the affected ankle to relax with toes turned out slightly. Using a steady, controlled motion, rotate the toes of the affected foot inward. Slowly return to the relaxed position. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions per session.

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On Friday after getting into my brace, I was able to walk around on it all day relatively pain-free, and even stand through after-hours emergency surgery on a dog that came in with a pyometra (uterine infection). For Valentine’s Day, the uterus was heart-shaped.

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Happy V Day!

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