The Stages In An Ankle Injury Rehab
Around 30% of all sport injuries occur in the ankle, making it one of the more common injuries seen by physios. The most commonly injured structure in an ankle sprain is the ATFL ligament, a big strong ligament that lies on the outside of the foot.
The mechanism of injury for an ankle sprain is commonly when the foot moves inwards (inversion), with bodyweight over the top, causing a tear to the ligaments on the outside.
Some immediate symptoms can include instability, pain, swelling over the outside of the ankle, and bruising.
At SportsFit, we have a thorough structured ankle rehab program which can be roughly broken up into 4 parts
1. Reducing pain and swelling
Pain can become a big barrier to sport and activities of daily living. It can also reduce the muscles ability to be active. Manual therapy can be used here to reduce pain. Swelling can be managed with taping, and compression bandage.
2. Ankle range of motion and proprioception
Ankle range of motion is important for everyday activities. A stiff ankle means things like going downstairs, and squats become very difficult. We can restore range of motion with exercise and manual therapy.
Proprioception refers to the ability to know where a body part is in space. This goes hand in hand with balance.
3. Ankle and general lower body strength
Restoring strength is integral to any injury, particularly an ankle injury. It is important to the strength of the muscles around the ankle to prevent future injury. Another aspect that is commonly overlooked is restoring the strength of the muscles above the ankle as well, such as the calf, hamstring and quad. Muscular atrophy can occur within a few days of underuse following an injury, and building up those muscles is important as well.
4. Return to Sport
The last stage is arguably the most important- successful re- intergration to sport and training. This will include working on change of direction, running, sprinting, acceleration and deceleration, and contact if appropriate.
Generally speaking, most ankle injuries can be treated successfully in around 6 weeks. A poorly treated ankle, can result in an unstable and weak ankle, more prone to future injuries.
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