March is a month that celebrates many things, including cheerleading safety. Modern cheerleaders are far more than just pom-pom wavers who stand on the sidelines, like they did in the past. Now they are trained athletes who must be able to jump, tumble, flip, and land safely. These acrobatic tricks are hard on the ankles and come with a risk of serious injuries that require surgery to heal. Surgery is serious, but not necessarily the end of your sports days! To get back into cheerleading—or any sport at all—after a procedure, you need to rebuild your ankle strength so it can support you.
Your ankles do a lot for you. They are flexible enough to allow your foot to move up, down, and side-to-side, giving your foot full rotational motion. They also have to be strong enough to support your body weight and absorb pressure from your lower limbs striking the ground. To rebuild your ankle strength, your post-surgery rehabilitation has to include exercises that improve both your stability and your range of motion.
Try a few of these ankle exercises to get started:
Achilles Stretches – Stand facing a wall with your palms flat against it and one foot set at least six inches behind the other. Slowly lunge forward toward the wall. Keep both heels firmly on the ground. First keep your back leg straight, then repeat with the knee bent.
Towel Stretch – Sit with your feet straight out in front of you. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull back on the towel. Hold for ten seconds.
Ankle Rolls – Sit with your feet out in front of you. Rotate your foot in circles at the ankle without moving your leg. Do this ten times, then reverse the circle’s direction.
Calf Raises – Stand with your feet apart. Rise up on your toes as high as you can, then lower to the ground and repeat.
Strengthening your ankle takes time and effort, but with the right exercises, you can return it to full power and range of motion. Then you can get back to the sports you love. Don’t skimp on your post-surgery recovery. Failing to regain your ankle strength only puts you at risk for re-injury later. Let Podiatry Associates, P.C. help you rehabilitate your joint. Make an appointment with us by calling (303) 805-5156, or through our online request form.