How to Exercise With an Ankle or Foot Injury

Ben Greenfield
2-minute read

Quick Tip: Stay Fit With an Ankle or Foot Injury

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It’s an all-too-common scenario – you get inspired about a new exercise program, you excitedly launch into the first series of workouts, and within a week you’re laid up with a sore back, injured knee, aggravated shoulder or inflamed foot.

But there’s no reason that you have to lose fitness and gain weight when you’re injured. Many of the athletes and clients who I train find that they are more fit after rehabilitating an injury because they get a chance to try new forms of training during the healing period. Here is an example of a workout for ankle or foot injuries (most exercises can be viewed at www.pacificfit.net/exercises):

Ankle or Foot Injury Workout Basics

  • Perform the following workout 3x/week, with 48 hours rest between each workout

  • Complete 15 repetitions for each exercise.

  • Complete the two exercises back to back with minimal rest, then move on to the cardio booster.

  • Complete 60 seconds for each cardio booster.

  • Move 3-4x through these 3 stations (exercise 1 + exercise 2 + cardio booster)

  • Then move on to the next triple set!

  • Perform 30-60 minutes non-weight bearing cardio, like swimming or cycling, on the non-weight lifting days.

Ankle or Foot Injury Exercises

  • Machine Leg Extensions + Machine Leg Curls + Bicycle Cardio Booster

  • Incline Dumbbell Chest Press + Lat Pulldown + Rowing Machine or Elliptical Cardio Booster

  • Stability Ball Push-Up + Single Arm Dumbbell Row + Bicycle Cardio Booster

  • Weighted Crunches + Hanging Leg Raise + Bicycle Cardio Booster

For a little review on using exercise machines, please see my episode on weight-lifting machines. And to find out how to adapt your workout routine for other injuries, please check out my Quick Tips for knee injuries, shoulder injuries, and lower back injuries.

If you're dealing with a chronic or acute injury, I'm always happy to network with your physician and, with their input, design a customized exercise program for you to help you stay in the best shape possible.

Quick & Dirty Tip: You should not consider this to be medical advice, and you should follow a physician’s recommendation for movement about an injured joint. However, if your doctor tells you to simply rest for 2-4 weeks, you need to specifically ask them about alternatives to that  all-too-common prescription. There's no reason that you can't stay in lean and fit while rehabilitating!

Injured Ankle image courtesy of Shutterstock

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.