A few suggestions for the rehabilitation of your ankles and feet following a trauma or surgery.

Water is our best ally to recover correct ankle functionality.
Walking in water helps the patient regain confidence as well as to get back to a correct movement. The act of flotation supports the body, relaxes the muscles and alleviates the pain, allowing the patient to move more easily and to increase motion patterns and their frequency.
Furthermore, hydrostatic pressure due to immersion facilitates the centripetal drainage of contused and/or edematous parts.

Ankle prosthesis surgery is becoming a more and more common procedure as it proves to be a reliable method that is easily accomplished.
As with any kind of surgery, the surgeon’s role is of vital importance, though an equally important role is played out by physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy following an ankle prosthesis surgery should aim to recover the ankle’s “spatial intelligence”. Usually physiotherapy carried out in the field of prostheses serves to favor muscular recovery. This means that physiotherapists have always believed that a quick muscular rehabilitation is the best route for a correct recovery.
This may prove efficient in cases of hip or knee prosthesis, less so when facing an ankle prosthesis, which is different to begin with because of several aspects regarding articulations.

The ankle’s functional recovery is not strictly tied to muscles only, but to a proprioceptive component too. Imagine our ankle and foot as a puppet, moved by muscles that are attached to bones that in turn become tendons and therefore exert similar yet opposite forces, enabling the ankle (or puppet) to maintain balance. We therefore have muscles and tendons that allow flexing, ankle extensions, pronation or supination.

But what does proprioceptive rehabilitation mean?
As we know, muscles support the body and enable motion, however, this is not the only purpose of muscles. In fact, muscle contractions and relaxations stimulate receptors within the muscle itself (Corpuscles of Golgi and neuromuscular spindles), that are responsible for proprioception and so offer additional information on the extent to which a muscle is tense, its length and position.

Following surgery or a sprain an ankle therefore needs to recover balance between mechanical muscular function and proprioception. We should imagine it as a “blind” ankle, incapable of recognizing or reacting in an adequate manner, adapting itself to external impulses, irregular grounds, and above all, incapable of positioning itself in the surrounding space as if the rest of the body weren’t conscious of its position.