Ankle Update…Can’s And Can’ts

Yes, it’s a bummer! An ankle injury is just a pain, and if you’re like me, you’ve worked hard to get where you are and don’t want to lose the fitness and weight loss ground you’ve gained. So what to do??

What To Do First:

  • Ask your Doctor what activities you can do – AND – what you shouldn’t.
  • Ask the person who fits you with your Boot Cast the same questions.
  • Ask your Trainer or a Trainer at your Gym the same questions.
  • If confused at all, ask your Doctor a 2nd time just to be completely sure.

The Can’s And The Can’ts:

The following “Can’t and Can’ts” were compiled from talking to all the individuals listed above.


Upper Body Work –

  • everything from the waist up – as long as you’re not standing up to do it
  • this includes many of the machines on the gym floor – ASK for help from gym staff just to be sure!!
  • push-ups as long as you keep your lower legs up and crossed to keep any weight off ankle
  • at home, you can use hand weights while sitting
  • * important – not putting weight on your injured joint during any exercise *

Core Work –

  • sit-ups are ok, but on floor, not balance ball, and focus on lifting your upper body without pushing down through your legs
  • can do some “love handle” work by doing “side sit-ups” – when you raise up, angle up and towards your left knee, hold, go down, then up to your right knee, hold, then down, repeat
  • some ab machines at the gym – again ASK staff to make sure doesn’t involve ankles and which exercises can be modified for safety

Cardio –

  • swimming, especially side stroke, so you can get your heart rate up and keep it up
  • exercise bike, at home or gym, is fine. Up the intensity during your intervals but keep the workout to a max of 1/2 hour, with 5 min warm up and 3-5 min cool down.

Stretching –

  • careful, seated stretching – don’t worry about touching toes – bend from the waist gently and slowly only until you feel the stretch in the back of the legs – then come back up slowly
  • can stretch sides gently
  • arm stretches are fine


  • lower body/leg work that puts any pressure on the lower legs – you’ll get enough just lugging the “boot” around, plus you don’t want to overwork one leg so you’re unbalanced in strength in the lower body
  • fitness classes – all of them including cycling
  • yoga – any type (even seated postures can put pressure on your ankle)
  • walking, jogging, running – self explanatory

Other Important Points:

  • Be prepared for up to 6 weeks in the “oh so attractive” Boot Cast, depending on the severity of your injury.
  • If you’re tall like I am, shorten your stride and walk slower! Also, try to walk as close to your norm as possible. Otherwise you will put too much pressure on your hips which can cause unnecessary soreness.
  • Wear a sneaker type shoe on the “non-booted” foot so you’re more even. The Boot adds extra inches and will affect your balance and walking.
  • Be very careful on slippery surfaces and stairs – take an elevator when you can and follow the “Boot” doc’s instructions for handling stairs.
  • Common Sense: park closer to stores, etc. because you’ll be walking much more slowly and because the less impact on your ankle, the better.
  • Knock 1 day off your Cardio workout schedule to give your injured ankle a break. If working out 5 days a week – knock it down to 4 with a break in the middle and over the weekend.
  • Better to have a shorter, more intense cardio workout, with intervals. You get the same benefit without losing ground and it allows you to heal safely.
  • Accept the fact that changing your workout a bit may put you back slightly and it will take a bit of time after the Boot comes off to get back up to your “usual”. Take the time – it’s very important to go slow so you don’t re-injure and have to go through all this again!
  • Keep an extra close eye on your diet. Might need to knock a few calories off your daily total to compensate for the decrease in activity. Especially watch your “break days”, keeping carbs to a minimum and avoiding the “white blight” of non-whole grain breads, sugar, and other white flour / potato based foods and snacks. Veggies are your friend!!
  • Have patience! Better to wait out the healing process and be able to resume your activities safely than chance a re-injury down the line.

2 thoughts on “Ankle Update…Can’s And Can’ts

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