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Are there exercises I should do prior to foot or ankle surgery?

Since the ankle is part of the lower extremity's kinetic chain, working on the hip flexors, extensors, hamstrings and calf muscles is advisable to maintain conditioning of the lower extremity. Here are some exercises you can work on:

Hips (extensors, flexors, abductors): Leg lifts

  1. Front: Start by lying on your back, bend one knee and keep foot against the table; straighten the leg of the side your exercising and keep the toes pointed toward the head; keep the leg straight and raise it so it is parallel with the bent knee; repeat for a set of 3; do 10 reps.
  2. Sides: Turn your body to the side, the bottom leg is bent, the leg your exercising is straight; raise leg so it's parallel with the ground; keep toes pointed toward the head; do 3 sets of 10 reps; repeat on the other side.
  3. Flip onto your belly: For ease, keep your knee bent; raise up toward the ceiling; repeat on the other leg; do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Knee (hamstrings): Heel slides

  • Sit on a flat surface with your leg out
  • Put a towel under your foot
  • Slide your foot toward your butt
  • Repeat on the other leg
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps

Calves: Ankle pumps
This exercise is done to prevent clots from forming in the lower leg (depending on our surgery; you may be non-weight-bearing after surgery)

  • Try keeping the knee straight, pull the toes toward the head then point them away
  • Repeat at a moderate pace
  • Repeat on opposite side
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps

Tricep: Push downs
(This exercise is to strengthen the triceps for the use of crutches if you are non-weight-bearing)

  • Lean against a bench or a table
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and push away and straighten the arms and squeeze the triceps and lower the body down toward the table
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.