Skydiving Health and Fitness | Ankle Rehab—Range of Motion and Weight Bearing
Safety & Training | Dec 15, 2022
Skydiving Health and Fitness | Ankle Rehab—Range of Motion and Weight Bearing

Nancy Grieger

Brought to you by Dr. Nancy Grieger, DPT, of Blue Skies Physical Therapy at Skydive Elsinore in California and Vanessa Larroca, NMT. 


Exercises to help with safe landings after ankle injuries need to focus on the whole person and should include work on hip strength, proprioception (a body’s ability to sense movement), core stability and plyometrics (quick, powerful movements).  Here, Luiza Placheta, who fractured her ankle and has recovered to the point where she has removed her boot, demonstrates three warm-up rehabilitation exercises. At this early point of her recovery, she’ll work on range of motion and weight-bearing exercises using a TRX suspension device for support and control of movement.

The three exercises—deep squats, curtsy squats and reverse lunges—are lightweight, low-demand activities that assist with functional movement. Perform a set of 10 of each of the three exercises and cycle through the sets three times, which will allow each muscle group to rest in between repetitions and maintain quality of movement.

 

Deep Squat

While performing deep squats, the TRX device will help support your movement as you strive for full, active range of motion in the hip, knee and ankle. The TRX will also assist you with returning upright as you gain strength. Use your glutes and quads and practice slow movements. After an ankle injury, this will use muscles that you have not used recently, so you may feel shaky or sore the next day.

Start: Stand with the TRX handles in your hands and your feet at shoulder-width apart.

Action: Flex at your hips, shifting your weight back onto your heels. Your toes may elevate to counterbalance. Bend at the knees and keep your shins vertical. This becomes a static yet responsive position to return to upright.

End: Stand up by using your glutes and quads.

 

Curtsy squat

Curtsy squats allow for lateral movement and activate your inner thighs, glut med and glut max muscles. This exercise will help you get more comfortable pushing off and accepting weight on a surface that may vary.

Start: Stand with the TRX handles in your hands and your feet at shoulder-width apart.

Action: Balance on one leg, step back with the other leg. Lower your hips until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.

End: Return to the start position while balancing on the front leg, pressing down against the ground.

Alternate legs between reps so you don’t tire out one leg.


Reverse Lunge

This is a great way to control your balance on a single leg and also put pressure on the leg while moving your body. This exercise challenges single-leg balance in the front leg while strengthening the back leg to push to stand. Again, more glut med/max exercises to assist and control landing.

Start: Stand with the TRX handles in your hands and your feet at shoulder-width apart.

Action: Balance on one leg, reach out behind you with the other leg and lower your body, keeping your body in line with your thigh. Initially, you may have to tap the floor, but ideally, you should be very close to the ground without touching it.

End: Once you tap the ground with the back leg, push up with it and return to standing.

Alternate legs between reps so you don’t tire out one leg.

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