‘We Need to Correctly Rehabilitate the Ankle Sprain!’
A high percentage of athletes that suffer an Ankle Inversion Sprain suffered a similar injury previously. So very often the latest Ankle sprain is simply a re-occurrence of an old ankle injury. However we make the mistake of failing to re-habilitate this ankle injury thoroughly and hence the reason for its re-occurrence and in many cases its multiple re-occurrence. So what are the dangers/risks of not fully completing a rehabilitation program for the sprained Ankle?
Restricted Ankle Movement leading to an altered gait/running style
Loss of Speed, Poor cutting, twisting & turning movements
Poor ankle Joint Stability leading to a poor single leg Landing technique causing ankle/ knee injury
Greater Risk of knee Injuries such as medial meniscus, medial Collateral Ligament & Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury due an inward angling (valgus angle) of the knee joint during landing & twisting movements.
Risk of Ankle Impingement syndrome, development ankle joint arthritic chondral lesions due to multiple sprains.
So what does a Full complete Ankle Inversion Sprain entail?
When we are rehabilitating an ankle or even a knee or shoulder injury, in order for the Patient to progress from one exercise to a more advanced exercise they most successful pass a series of exercise tests. These tests performed under the guidance of your Practitioner, are vitally important in order to ensure that the player can return to play a better athlete than prior to injury.
So what are we testing to ensure confident return of Athlete to Full Sport?
Balance stability – Can the Patient stand on one leg with good control for a sustained period with free limb movement.
Is ankle movement now the same as the opposite ankle?
Have they perform Hopping and Landing drills that progress from double leg landing to single leg landing in multiple planes of movement.
How much Ground Reaction Force has the rehabilitation program allowed for. Ground Reaction Force is the degree of force or load that is exerted on the joint during landing activates.
Are there any Abnormal Alignment issues noted the athlete during squatting, jumping, running, and landing activities. Crucially these alignment abnormalities such as trunk rotation, knee angle, foot landing position will need to be corrected before the Athlete returns to play.
Finally it very important that the athlete continues some aspects of the rehabilitation program after they have returned to play.
Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy(MIAPT) and is based in Thurles. Contact Number: 0504 26672.