Weak ankles? How to bulletproof them & stop the sprains.
14 Sep 2016
How to stop the ankle sprains
Outdoor autumnal team sports have returned to us, whether its Netball, Rugby, Hockey or Football its an exciting and physically demanding time. We commit hours of training for an hour of competitive sport on a cold evening or weekend, but we all absolutely love it. Until we get an injury, then we have to resign ourselves to just watching.
An ankle sprain is the most common sporting injury and is often only partially treated with a bit of ice and then if you’re lucky some tape for next weeks game. Interestingly around 40% of ankle sprains are recurrent, which can lead to chronic ankle instability (CAI) and possibly ankle osteoarthritis.
For patients whom have worked with us at Kesson Physio you will know that we are big believers in Injury Prevention. It is far easier to prevent an injury than fix it you once you’re broken.
1.Poor proprioception, fancy term for your joints knowing where they are without you thinking about it. When little nerve endings are damaged and not rehabilitated, they cannot provide accurate information so your ankle looses its ability to “think for itself”. Therefore you become more vulnerable to re-rolling it.
2.Poor ankle strength so ligaments are exposed to more stress.
3. Poor hip & core strength so muscles in the legs have to work harder, therefore will prematurely fatigue and lose quality.
Very simply, the more stable your body, the less unsteadiness your ankle has to compensate for.
SINGLE LEG BALANCE test: Bend one leg at the knee, lifting the foot off of the ground. Balance for 30 seconds with eyes open and repeat the test with your eyes closed if too easy. Note time and quality between sides.
SINGLE LEG HEEL RAISE test: Standing on one leg slowly raise yourself up on to your toes and lower 20 times. Note ache in calf between sides
Injury prevention exercises.
There are a variety of exercises, my top 4 are ( 3 sets 10 reps):
Balance and catch: Stand on 1 leg, catch and throw a ball with a partner or at wall. Throw the ball right, left, high, low.
One leg mini squat: On 1 leg do a half squat with the opposite leg out front, out to the side and behind 10 reps each.
Side plank leg lift: Hold a side plank on a bent knee, lift your top leg up keeping the knee straight. Hold for 3 and then lower.
Inversion & eversion: with a thera-band, (note the pic is opposite feet yet the same arrow direction)
Hopefully these 4 exercises can help your “weak ankles” and keep you on the pitch.
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