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How to Gain Muscle After a Fractured Ankle

By Ryan Casima

After a fractured ankle has healed, the affected area is weak because of the lack of activity. Strengthening the muscles around the ankle is one of the best ways for you to prevent future injuries, such as fractures, muscle sprains, ligament sprains, and tendon tears. Although the ankles have some of the strongest joints and bones in the body, as they support your weight, after an injury, they should be exercised lightly. Moreover, ankle injuries can take a long time to heal. Keep in mind: It might take several months before you can walk without a limp and return to normal activities, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Strengthening The Ankles

Walk on your toes. This is a great exercise for strengthening your foot and calf muscles. If you experience any pain other than the normal workout burn, stop the exercise until you can do it with no pain.

Walk on your heels. This heel exercise works the opposing muscles of the toe exercise. It strengthens ankle and shin muscles.

Do squats. With your feet shoulder-width apart, sit back on your heels, pushing your buttocks down while keeping your back straight. Slowly stand. Repeat. These will strengthen your ankle muscles along with your quads. If the squats feel too easy, add weight by holding dumbbells, one at each side, while you do the exercises.

Take a hike. Uneven surfaces for walking, such as dirt trails, help strengthen your ankle muscles more efficiently than smooth-surface exercising.

Ride a bike. Cycling helps build muscle around the ankle if you use only the balls of your feet to pedal. Plus, you get a bonus calf, quad and glute workout.

Buy an exercise resistance band. Find a book of exercises with these inexpensive, stretchy workout tools, and you will have many ankle-strengthening exercises to add to your rehabilitation.

If your muscles and bones are strong enough to do heavy weight-lifting exercises (ask your doctor), try doing leg presses, calve presses and snatches. These should all be done with a significant amount of weight; your ankle muscles are already used to your body weight, which it supports all day. Try to lift more than you weigh.

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