I’ve Had Foot and Ankle Surgery, Now What?

Having foot and ankle surgery is no small matter. And your post-care is just as important as the surgery itself in helping get you back on your feet. After foot and ankle surgery comes rehabilitation. The overall goal of rehabilitation is to help you get your abilities back and regain independence. But the specific goals are different for each person.

There are many different aspects to rehabilitation, and treatment plans can encompass anything from simple stretches and strength training exercises to laser therapy, acupuncture, and myofascial decompression. Let’s take a closer look at these various rehabilitation techniques.

Strengthening Exercises

After the inactivity of recovery, the body needs to regain muscle. For the feet, this might involve exercises such as towel curls, grabbling marbles with your toes, or using flexibility bands to add resistance to movements. Ankle strength will increase balance and stability, making walking easier and less tiresome.

Flexibility Exercises

In addition to being strong, muscles, tendons, and ligaments need to have flexibility. Stretching exercises should be a part of any rehabilitation plan. In the foot and ankle, this could involve manual stretching of the plantar fascia, calf and heel stretches, toe flexion, ankle rolls, and other targeted stretches. 

Myofascial Decompression (Cupping)

Cupping has been shown to relax muscles, release trigger points, improve lymphatic flow, increase local circulation, and release scar tissue adhesion—all leading to better and faster recovery. Small cups can be applied to the feet and ankles to promote healing.

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape stabilizes the injured area by lightly adhering to the skin and applying pressure to the tissues. It reduces swelling, increases mobility, and enhances recovery. Your physical therapist can help explain and apply tapings for your specific needs.

MLS Laser Therapy

Laser therapy uses light energy to enhance the body’s natural healing process, increasing blood flow to the injured area, removing the toxins created by inflammation, and reducing pain. As a result, cells repair themselves faster than normal. The MLS laser is painless, quick, and has proven to produce better rehabilitation results.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation contracts the leg muscles and boosts the blood flow to the area where the pads are applied. This increase in circulation provides oxygen-rich blood to your feet and ankles, promoting quicker and better healing.


Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points. This stimulates the immune system, promoting circulation to the area, wound healing, and pain modulation. Foot acupuncture utilizes the same pressure points as reflexology.

If you’ve had foot and ankle surgery, then it’s time to rehabilitate. Central Ohio Physical Therapy treats the whole body, all ages, and all injury types using the most innovative and extensive methods available. Make an appointment with COPT for your rehabilitation.

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