A foot injury or foot surgery may leave you immobile for a period of time. To return to your regular activities and more strenuous recreational activities, it is necessary for you to follow a well-planned activity and exercise program.
You are encouraged to start walking with crutches or a walker following your surgery. Your doctor will help to structure and supervise an exercise routine that is ideal for you. A good exercise program to rehabilitate foot and ankle conditions focuses on strengthening and stretching the muscles and tendons of the lower leg, feet and ankles to relieve pain and soreness, keep the muscles flexible, provide stability and prevent future injury.
Begin with a few warm-up exercises, followed by stretching, then move on to the strengthening exercises, followed again by stretching. If you experience pain, stop and contact your doctor, who will modify the routine to suit you. Some of the exercises that are prescribed include:
- Heel cord stretches: Stand with a wall in front of you. Put your unaffected foot ahead of you with the knee bent and your affected foot straight behind you. While supporting yourself on the wall, urge your hips forward with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Ball rolling: Sit on a chair with both feet on the ground. Use your affected foot to roll a ball under the arch of the foot. Perform this activity for 2 minutes.
- Towel stretching: Sit on the floor with the legs straight in front of you. Hook a towel under your affected foot and holding both ends pull towards yourself, keeping the leg straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds with 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Calf raises: Stand behind a chair and support yourself as you raise your unaffected leg behind you putting all your weight on the affected foot. Lift the heel and raise your body up. Perform 10 repetitions.
- Toe writing: While sitting down on an elevated chair use the big toe of your affected foot to write alphabets in the air. Perform 2 sets of this activity.
- Marble activity: Sit down on a chair and place 20 marbles on the floor near your affected foot. Use your toes to pick up one marble at a time and place it into a container.
Follow the routine three to five times a week for four to six weeks or as specified by your doctor. After this, you may continue the program to maintain strength and range of motion.
Following rehabilitation, you can gradually start walking, running and return to sports activities, as advised by your doctor.