If you’ve sustained an injury to your foot or ankle, it can be tough to stay in shape while you recover. But even if you’re unable to run or play your favorite sports, you can still keep yourself active

Do plenty of stretching

Your body’s muscles won’t be doing as much stretching as normal. To keep yourself limber, ramp up stretching exercises that you can do without running or jumping.

  • As well as your good leg, you should work on other areas, including your arms, neck and back.
  • Keep up a regular routine to avoid muscle stiffness or additional pain.

Get out of the house

Unless you’ve been told otherwise, resting up doesn’t mean not getting out. Don’t put any serious pressure on your healing foot, but refresh yourself with a change of scene.

  • If your house has a deck or porch, take a chair outside.
  • If you’re unable to move much, open a window. Fresh air will help you feel better.
  • If your doctor gives the OK, with the help of a friend or family member, you can carefully make your way out of the house and to an uncrowded restaurant, café, library or park that has places to sit.

Find alternative workouts

Your doctor or physical therapist will have given you a list of recovery exercises, so do those first, exactly as directed. Once you’re comfortable with those, you can work on other areas of your body.

  • Hand weights are a great option. Lifting will keep your arms strong and give you a feeling of achievement.
  • Vary the areas you work on in each session. Your torso will benefit from sit-ups; your good leg from leg lifts.

Keep your mind active

The worst thing about a foot injury is often the boredom that comes with not being able to do your favorite things. Try to take your mind off your discomfort and find new ways to keep yourself entertained.

  • Dig out some board, card or word games you enjoy, and play them with family members or friends.
  • Read a book! A great story can draw you in so much that you’ll barely think about your injury for a while.

Hit the pool

Ask your podiatrist first whether it’s okay, but swimming may be an option even with a foot or ankle injury. Ask someone to drive you to the pool and help you when you’re there.

  • Since the water will help support you, you won’t be putting too much weight on your bad leg.
  • It’s very important that you consult with your doctor before taking up any swimming or pool exercises. Swimming isn’t a good choice for people who are wearing a cast as part of their recovery program.