This booklet is for people after an ankle fracture.
Depending on the type of fracture you have, you will either have surgery to stabilise the bone, or a cast. Either way, these exercises are designed for you.
What should I expect if I have had a cast removed?
Without the support of your cast it is normal for the leg to feel more achy.
The leg and foot may swell or turn hot and red – this is normal.
Continue to use your crutches if you feel you need to.
Place as much weight through your leg as instructed by your consultant. If no instructions have been given, place as much weight through your leg as is comfortable.
Your ankle is likely to feel stiff – it is important to start exercising it as soon as possible to get your movement back.
Small amounts of exercise, or walking with regular rests in between, is best.
Raise your leg when you are resting.
If it feels hot or swollen, applying ice (or a bag of frozen peas) can help. Remember to place a damp tea towel between the ice and your skin to prevent an ice burn. Ice for up to 10 minutes every 2 hours.
The skin may be dry and flaky – gently massaging with moisturiser will help.
What should I expect if I have had an operation?
You will usually be told how much weight you are allowed to place through your leg. If not, a good rule to follow is only place as much weight as is comfortable.
Your leg and foot may swell or turn hot and red – this is normal.
It is important to maintain your movement and strength – exercising your ankle comfortably, as soon as possible, will help your recovery.
Contact the Plaster Room (details below) if you develop any redness or itchiness around your surgical wound, or significant swelling of the leg with tenderness of the calf.
What exercises should I do now?
These exercises are designed to improve your ankle movement and strength.
They are important to start straight away.
Try to do them four times a day.
They are arranged from easy to hard.
It is normal to feel discomfort during these exercises, but you shouldn’t aggravate too much pain.
Move your foot in a large circle.
Repeat 10 to 20 times in both directions.
Move your foot as far up and down as you can.
Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Ankle stretch 1
Using a towel, gently pull your foot up as far as is comfortable.
Hold for 30 seconds then relax.
Repeat 3 times.
Static press in
With your feet together, press your big toes against each other.
Hold for 5 seconds then relax.
Repeat 10 times.
Static press out
With your legs crossed over, push the outside border of your feet against each other.
Hold for 5 seconds then relax.
Repeat 10 times.
Ankle stretch 2
If comfortable, stretch your ankle by placing your affected foot on a step and move your knee forward.
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds then relax.
Standing with your back against a wall, slowly ‘slide’ down the wall bending your knees. Go as far as you can and hold for up to 30 seconds.
Repeat 3 times then relax.
When comfortable, try to balance on your affected leg for 30 seconds then relax.
Frequently asked questions
How long will it take until I can walk again?
Fractures can be simple and stable (relatively short recovery) or complex and less stable (longer recovery). Even within these groups people vary greatly in their recovery.
Make the exercises you’ve been given to do part of your daily routine. This will give you the best chance of a fast recovery.
How long will it take for the swelling to go down?
Again, this varies greatly. It usually goes down in six weeks but may take as long as one year.
Why is my leg more uncomfortable after my cast has come off?
The cast was supporting your leg, and without it your leg may be sorer for a while until it gets used to being without that support. This is normal and usually gets better quickly.
How to contact us
For further information or advice, contact us in the Plaster Room – see details below.
If you have any urgent concerns outside of office hours, go to your nearest Emergency (A&E) department.
020 8934 2166 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.00pm)
For any urgent queries at other times
Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.
Switchboard 020 8546 7711
‘Find Us’ page for maps, transport, registering a blue badge, disabled access
Information, advice and support for patients and relatives (PALS) 020 8934 3993
Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.
Request More Information
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).
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