I'm looking for suggestions about strength- and endurance-building exercises -- general types or specific motions -- that will either engage my super-weak ankles and wrists in order to strengthen them or avoid using said weak bits entirely in order to avoid exacerbating the existing problems.
Preceding that, I am not even sure which route to take in the first place: activate/try to strengthen these weak areas, or avoid/leave well enough alone?
I am not seeking medical advice per se, but let me acknowledge up front: YANMD/PT.
I'm a longtime hatha yoga practitioner looking to increase my overall fitness/cardio endurance and strength levels with a few specific bodily limitations in mind, particularly my wretchedly weak wrists and ankles. In addition, I have a very poorly-healed break in my right hand's fifth metacarpal; I've found out the hard way that this completely eliminates lifting barbells and hand weights from strength training routines.
Major overpronator. In poses like pyramid
and wide-legged forward bend
, the exterior of both of my ankles develops a very strong burning sensation rather quickly; if I don't come out of the pose right away, my ankles will cramp and lock up so tight that I have to sit down immediately
I can no longer do eagle
pose at all
because when I crouch down, pressing all of my body weight down onto that one ankle makes it feel like it is going to shatter. Simple one-legged balance poses (like tree
, warrior III
, etc.) are usually OK as long as I limit my holds. Unfortunately, I've been doing yoga for years and the ankle cramps have not gotten any better. Running or walking at a brisk pace also causes the same sort of pain, but it takes quite a bit longer for it to kick in -- maybe 45 minutes of jogging, versus a 45 seconds
Is there a common area that is "activated" by these exercises? I'm not sure how to describe it other than the "exterior of my ankle" region, but when it's acting up, the pain also extends along the side of my foot and toward the middle of the top of my foot as well.
Recurring ganglion cyst
on the top of my right wrist, middling right-side ulnar nerve damage but it's not extensive enough to require surgery yet, RSI/general office monkey injuries up the wazoo. I switched to mousing with my left hand many moons ago, but my job requires extensive keyboard jockeying, and 15+ years of 100+ WPM typing have left me entirely unable to space or shift with my left hand instead of right.
Absolute no-nos, in addition to barbells and such: push-ups, anything even remotely related to an arm balance
, upward-facing dog
. Downward-facing dog is OK, apparently due to the angle, the problem seems to be direct vertical
pressure on the wrist, forward or backward, which is why the one time I tried to do a bench press, only a kind-hearted spotter prevented the bar from crushing my trachea.
Gym membership/personal trainer ain't in the cards, but I can definitely seek out a physical therapist through insurance. I have a budget-level spin bike
coming my way within the next few weeks and intend to use it for ~30 minutes every morning and evening.
I have no trouble maintaining a comfortable/healthy weight and diet, so I'm not looking to gain or lose pounds at all; I am only looking to build strength and increase my cardio endurance without accidentally effing up my arms and legs any further.
Any tips? To-dos or not-to-dos? For example, would wrist/ankle weights
help or hurt? Could I wear them as I ride my spin bike?
Thank you kindly!