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Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries we see at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic. These sprains can range from a mild discomfort which settles within a week to more severe sprains requiring use of crutches and sometimes months out from sport. For this reason it’s so important to look after the ankles and ensure they’re in good health. Unfortunately many athletes find that once they’ve experienced an ankle sprain, they’re more likely to roll their ankle in the future.
Many methods are used to help reduce the risk of repeated ankle sprains. Strapping or braces can be used to give the ankle external support in the aim of stopping the ankle from turning in. Choosing supportive footwear to suit your foot type may also be helpful.
The main method of prevention of recurrent ankle sprains is to build up the strength, control and balance in the ankle. Proprioception is the name given to the body’s awareness of where it is in space. For example, even with your eyes closed you can tell whether your elbow is bent or straight, without having to look at it. This proprioception or joint position sense can be reduced following an ankle sprain, increasing your risk of re-spraining the ankle. Proprioceptive retraining can involve exercises such as standing on one leg. This can progress on to standing on one leg while moving the arms or the other leg. The difficulty can also be increased by closing the eyes or standing on an uneven surface. Proprioceptive training and improving control around the ankle has been shown to be helpful for prevention of recurrence of ankle sprains (Schiftan et al 2014, Calatayud et al 2014).
Calf strength may also need to be addressed with an individually designed heel raise programme. The strength of the rest of the lower limb must also be assessed and exercises can be prescribed to address any weaknesses or movement flaws that have been found. In late stage rehab, sports specific drills must be completed
Feel free to contact us at our Dublin 4 clinic for further information.