Ankle fractures are one of the most common orthopedic injuries, especially among young males and older females. About 50% of ankle fractures require surgery to reposition the bones for healing. Traditionally, casts are used to prevent the ankle from moving and protect it while it heals. The lack of movement can lead to ankle pain, stiffness, swelling, and weakness. In contrast, researchers have recently found that using removable casts or splints and exercising the joint following surgery appears beneficial.
A team of Cochrane Researchers state that exercise performed soon after surgery can help reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness while increasing movement. For fractures that are stable, walking appears helpful too. Because there appears to be a slight risk of surgical wound problems with early exercise, the researchers caution that movements should be performed with care.