Ankle rehab, is it really that important?
It’s common that at some point in your life you’ve sprained your ankle. Whether that was 10 years ago playing a football final or yesterday afternoon carrying in the groceries to accidentally miss a step and roll your ankle. Did you seek any treatment afterwards? Often the answer is no, and it is certainly something I myself am guilty of doing. Usually, a bag of peas does the trick. However, working in the podiatry profession I am now exposed to the long term disability associated with not undertaking any rehabilitation post-injury! If I could turn back the clock, I would be urging my 14-year-old self to whip out the resistance band and start strengthening my ankles in front of the TV.
As I mention, a history of a previous ankle injury can lead to health complications later in life. In fact, in a 10 year follow-up study of patients suffering inversion ankle sprains, 72% showed signs of osteoarthrosis in the ankle joint. Ankle sprains typically involve injury to the ligaments that support the outside of the foot. When these structures are damaged, the midfoot becomes more unstable and higher forces are placed through the joints of the foot, increasing the likelihood of degenerative change.
Given the serious long term consequences associated with an inversion ankle sprain, it is important to identify individuals at risk an initiate preventive treatment protocols. The following factors are predictors of ankle sprains:
- Foot type
- Decreased proprioception - the ability to balance
- Limited ankle dorsiflexion - range of motion
- Decreased cardiovascular fitness
- Weight gain
- Incidence of prior ankle sprain
If you are concerned that a prior injury may be impacting on your life, or would like to improve some general ankle stability come see us for a tailor-designed rehabilitation plan at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic.