How to exercise: the bad ankle edition
October 28, 2014 8:30 PM   Subscribe

I am currently waiting for ankle ligament reconstruction surgery, but still want to keep as active as possible in the meantime. My two main ways of exercising - riding my horse and playing soccer weekly - are now out of the question, what else can I do to maintain some level of activity that doesn't involve using my injured ankle too much?

At the moment I go for a good walk daily and bike ride once a week (with my ankle well braced/wrapped up), as these don't put any untoward strain or cause pain on my injured ankle, but I'm feeling like this isn't enough! I'm not looking to maintain any high level of fitness, just get out and about and keep my body moving while I still can and not become too bored with what I am doing.
posted by sunshine arakhan to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by sparklemotion at 8:32 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Footnote (heh): I should add that I am currently unable to jog/run and cannot weight bear a whole lot on this ankle (for example, standing on one foot lasts about two seconds or doing things that require me to take the weight in my lower legs/ankles).
posted by sunshine arakhan at 8:33 PM on October 28, 2014

Swimming requires a fair bit of ankle mobility (I'm currently off swimming because of an ankle injury). Handbike/upper body erger maybe, if you can find a gym that has one?
posted by dorque at 8:38 PM on October 28, 2014

Ladies push-ups? Stomach crunches?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:40 PM on October 28, 2014

I would go to a gym and use the various weight machines.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:43 PM on October 28, 2014

Can you use an exercise bike? If cycling doesn't cause your ankle problems if it's properly braced, a stationary bike could be a useful tool.
posted by bedhead at 8:43 PM on October 28, 2014

Weights? Handbike (at the gym)? Rowing?
posted by Brittanie at 8:54 PM on October 28, 2014

When I had ankle tendonitis I could still use my rowing machine. It involves some flexing, but not a lot of weight on it. (If you've never used one before, you'll need some coaching on form, but it can be as easy or as hard a work out as you want.)
posted by Specklet at 9:04 PM on October 28, 2014

I had a similar situation with ~8 months before finally getting surgery to fix an ankle injury. Riding my bike around non-hilly areas was good and non-stressful on the ankle, and swimming was also lovely when I could do it, though reading dorque's comment I suppose it varies according to your injury - mine didn't bother me when swimming, YMMV (I had a "high" injury involving a ruptured AITFL, cracked cartilage and extensive bone bruising). I also did quite a bit of pottering about in the garden - it's not high-impact exercise, but it's outside, it's doing something interesting, and you can sit down if you need to.

I also wanted to say that I am a horseback rider as well, and depending on what sort of riding you do/how tolerant you are of the risk of falling off/how quiet your horse is (or a quiet school pony type if you have access to one), riding miiiiight not necessarily have to be out of the picture entirely. I spent many hours riding bareback or without stirrups - if you and your horse can tolerate that sort of thing, you could still perhaps go on trail rides once in a while at least. I only mention it because I know first-hand how bored I got walking around my neighborhood yet again - I think I would've gone crazy if I'd been unable to ride the entire time. (Also I hate gyms and find them head-explodingly boring, and also also it would probably take full quadruplegia to keep me off a horse, so there's a grain block of salt to be taken here...) Best of luck with your recovery.
posted by po at 9:07 PM on October 28, 2014

Swimming with a leg float/pool buoy.
posted by fairmettle at 2:16 AM on October 29, 2014

Aqua jogging. I did it when I blew out my ankle ligaments. Google "Aqua jogging belt" to see belt options.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:58 AM on October 29, 2014

Well, it may be too much. But it's worth a shot. It hurt occasionally when I did it. But for the most part it was fine. It could be something you do 1-2 times a week, maybe in conjunction with other easy exercise. Good luck.
posted by persona au gratin at 3:02 AM on October 29, 2014

This video is for rock climbing, but might inspire you.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:05 AM on October 29, 2014

When I sprained an ankle a while ago I rode without stirrups for a month. It was limiting but improved my seat a ton.
posted by sepviva at 5:20 AM on October 29, 2014

What Po and sepviva said. If your horse is quiet (somewhat quiet) and you have a mounting block or someone to give you a leg up, why not ride?

Tacking up on crutches is a PIA, but doable. And it sounds like you are just in "taking it easy" mode instead of on crutches.

My horse has a good recall, but if you board isn't there someone at the barn who can bring your horse in for you?

Also pilates. Gym-like and might make your head explode but designed to work around injuries.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:00 AM on October 30, 2014

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