Lower Leg & Ankle Exercises
Lower leg and ankle rehabilitation exercises for ankle, shin and calf injuries. Once pain allows, isometric or static exercises can begin followed by dynamic strengthening exercises. It is important to include balance or proprioception exercises as well as more functional or sports specific exercises.
Dynamic lower leg and ankle exercises involve movement of the joints. They can usually begin as soon as pain allows, often following initial static or isometric exercises.
Proprioception is our sense and awareness of the position of our body parts and is closely linked to balance. Having good proprioception helps to reduce the risk of injury. Located within the muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues of the body, are tiny sensors which relay information about a joint position, pressure and muscle stretch to the brain.
Isometric or static ankle exercises can be performed in the early stages of rehabilitation from a lower leg injury. Isometric exercises strengthen the muscle without putting any stress or weight on the injured area. After this stage, more dynamic exercises can be introduced to the rehabilitation programme.
These functional or plyometric type exercises can be performed later in the rehabilitation process. These strengthening exercises are more dynamic and prepare the muscles for when full training is resumed. They include explosive movements such as jumps which work the muscles in a similar way to full training such as sprinting.
The main aim of using a balance board is to improve proprioception. This is our sense and awareness of the position of our body parts.
Proprioception or balance type exercises for lower leg rehabilitation. Proprioception is about our spatial awareness and sense of where parts of our body are. After injury this is damaged making us more susceptible to re-injury, especially with ankle sprains.