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Ankle sprains most commonly occur during sports requiring a rapid change of direction, jumping and sprinting. In some people, an ankle sprain can occur from something. As simple as missing a step or rolling your ankle on an uneven surface. The resulting disability can range from a mild sprain to a more serious tear of the ankle ligaments.
An ankle sprain tends to affect the ligaments on the lateral aspect of the ankle. The typical method of injury is an inversion injury. Which describes rolling onto the outer ankle, as your foot turns inwards. Ligaments may just be overstretched, or in more serious cases, completely ruptured. This in turn affects the individual’s stability, balance and range of movement.
Whether a Grade 1 or Grade 3 ankle sprian injury, rehabilitation and strengthening must be carried out in order to prevent ongoing disability and recurrent ankle sprains in the future.
Ankle rehabilitation starts with restoring normal range of motion and strength to the ankle joint, and surrounding joints. Physiotherapy mobilisation techniques, soft tissue work and passive stretches restores motion and strength. Resistive band exercises strengthen the ankle invertors and evertors. These muscle groups provide stability to the medial and lateral ankle aspects of the ankle.
Proprioceptive training is probably the most important component of ankle rehabilitation. Proprioception describes the ability to know where your joint is in space, relative to your full body movement and surroundings. Proprioceptive training also enhances neuromuscular control of your ankle. Loss of proprioception can cause balance and stability issues which in turn hinders athletic performance while increasing the risk of re-injury. Proprioceptive ankle exercises can range from standing on one leg with your eyes closed to balancing on one leg on a bosu ball, while doing a single leg squat, in the more advanced athlete.
Research has shown that wobble board training improves single leg stance ability and balance, while other studies have suggested that patients with ankle instability who underwent wobble board training experienced significantly fewer recurrent sprains during a follow-up period than those who did not follow the training programme. A return to training generally occurs when the patients feels their strength and stability is approximately 80% of their un-injured ankle.
If you have sprained your ankle and require assistance getting back to your chosen sport, contact us here. Our physiotherapists regularly treat and rehabilitate ankle injuries, ranging from mild sprains to more severe tears.