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Foot & Ankle Rehab Protocol


This section applies to all patients. 

  • No NSAIDS such as Advil, Motrin, ibuprofen, Naprosyn, and Aleve x 2 weeks

  • Pain: Tylenol for mild pain and if needed use mild narcotic provided

  • Driving restrictions: No driving until out of boot and can safely move from gas to brake. If left foot/ankle, must be able to safely use clutch.

  • Work restrictions: Depends on duration of weightbearing restrictions

  • Exercise restrictions: 2 weeks relative rest followed by 4 weeks progressive PT. No running, cutting, jumping, lunges or deep squats until 8 weeks.

The following may not apply to all patients. Your provider will complete this section, depending on your needs.

☐ Use crutches for __________ days, non-weightbearing for _______ days

☐ May begin partial weight bearing WITH crutches from days ____________

☐ Use boot, with / without heel lift for ____________ weeks

☐ Use stirrup ankle brace for 3-4 days continuously then 4-6 weeks when on feet

☐ Come out of the boot for simple non-weight bearing range of motion 1-2 times daily after the first 2 days of continuous boot wear

☐ f/u for PT in 5-7 days

Activities: In general, with strength and activities, keep pain level below 4/10.

First 2 Weeks:

  • Use crutches as directed above.

  • Strengthening/Motion: Isometrics always good. Non-weightbearing and passive range of motion is good too. Try to get full range of motion by 2 weeks.

  • Walking: No hiking. Once allowed to bear weight, may walk on flat ground initially for 10-15 minutes. If this goes well, may walk 5 minutes longer the next day.

  • Cycling: May do gentle ride on stationary bike for 10-15 minutes after week 1. Exertion level 1-3/10.

  • Swimming: May use pull buoy after week 1 alternating with GENTLE kicking.

Weeks 2-4:

  • Strengthening/Motion: Start low load closed chain concentric/eccentrics with PT.

  • Walking: May begin gentle hiking on even surfaces (no more than 30 minutes).

  • Cycling: May ride up to 30 minutes. No getting out of the saddle til after week 4. Exertion level 4-6/10.

  • Swimming: Increase kicking intensity alternating with pull buoy. Swim ½-1 mile.

Weeks 4-6:

  • Strengthening/Motion: Progress to moderate load, progressive strengthening.

  • Walking: May progress to longer hikes up to 60 minutes, still no jumping. Can add mildly uneven surfaces now.

  • Cycling: May ride up to 60 minutes. May get out of saddle. Exertion level 7-9/10 during intervals.

  • Swimming: May swim up to 1-2 miles now. Still encourage breaks with buoy.