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What precautions should I take for an ankle ligament tear?

Q: I am a 35-years old female. I am 5.2 feet tall and I weigh 70 kg. I was walking down the stairs when I tripped and fell down and suffered an ankle ligament tear. I had severe pain and swelling on the outer part of the left ankle. The doctor told me to tie a crepe bandage and I have been doing so. I was told that the problem will take 3 weeks to get cured. But if I take rest continuously, I will gain a lot of weight, which will put more pressure on my feet. Will the ligament become strong like what it was earlier? Can exercises help me build the ligaments? Which exercises can I do to control my weight so that I don't put any pressure on my ankle? Is it safe to walk? How much time will it take for me to resume my regular schedule? I am a very active person but I have put on a lot of weight in the recent past. I was also working out in the gym to control my weight. What effect will no exercise and rest have on my health?

A:I can understand your concern about weight gain but there is little you can do about it now. Your ligament injury is a very delicate injury in a way. You need to concentrate on that now. All you can do now about your weight is to eat sensibly and avoid fatty foods. You can do static pulling in of your abdominal muscles in lying or sitting so that they remain toned up. Since you have been to a gym, you can do exercises for upper body. The supportive treatment for your limb, which is the crepe bandage, would be strong toe movements apart from your anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. You can do local ultrasound therapy to reduce your pain. After three weeks when your doctor allows you to move about, it will be only partial weight bearing. You should do passive, then active assisted and then active exercises of the foot and ankle. Strengthening exercises for your muscles of the outer muscles of the ankle are very important. I suggest you also learn proper weight transfer on your feet and proper gait training. Later you can go for a vigorous regime of toe standing, heel standing and walking and coordinated exercises like jogging and running and by 5-6 weeks you should be fine to resume walking to reduce your weight. Your ankle will be prone to repeated injuries and sprains if you do not take care now. Ligament injuries, if not taken seriously can be troublesome. You can always reduce your weight later.

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