Recovering from a torn tendon in the ankle

Fitness Expert

The process of recovery from a torn tendon in the ankle can be long, slow and very painful at times. As well as dealing with rehabilitation issues and any problems arising from pain management, active people can feel very frustrated and upset that they won’t be able to get back to a full training programme any time soon – it can take months to recover, and you won’t be able to get back to the same level of performance you might once have enjoyed.

In the human body, tendons act as the connection between muscle and bone; their fibrous nature can withstand more than you think but must still be as protected as any normal at-risk body part during exercise and sport. A torn tendon in the ankle can be very damaging for its long-term health and will almost always require surgery so that the process of re-forming the tendons can happen without any obstruction.

In the first instance, you’re going to need ice – and lots of it! A swollen ankle will need lots of rest and elevation, and should not have any weight placed on it for a good deal of time; your doctor will advise you on this but it will be a matter of weeks not days.

With your doctor’s advice, there will eventually be a few exercises which you can try – gradually! – to repair the damage caused to your ankle tendons. The importance of the timeline between rest, recovery and exercise cannot be stressed enough – if you try to begin rehabilitation before the ankle is properly healed, you will risk re-injuring the tendon and any knock back could cause permanent injury both to the affected area as well as to your confidence.

When you’re fully ready to begin the process of rehab, start with gently flexing your ankle, pointing the toes outward about five times a day, building gradually towards ten as your ankle’s strength and mobility begins to come back. Apply slight pressure to the area of injury by pushing against the ball of your hurt foot with your other foot - push it away and don’t try to resist.

The process will be slow but once you’re on the road to recovery you’ll feel your confidence flooding back. If you were injured during a fitness event or in some other official capacity then the safeguards may be in place for you to make a personal injury claim to recoup the cost of rehabilitation as well as any surgical and medical costs. You need not lose out on any earnings because of this potential costly injury and could in fact help prevent such a fate befalling others in future.