Ankle sprains are one of the most common sporting injuries especially in sports such as netball and basketball. They tend to be viewed as minor injuries that will heal over time because of their common presentation and quick resolution of symptoms. However, ankle sprains often lead to persistent problems such as increased laxity and chronic instability. If not treated correctly there is a 70% chance of re-injury to that initial ankle sprain. The good news is that we can prevent recurrent ankle sprains!
The ankle is made up of 3 main structures: bone, ligament and muscle. The term ankle sprain describes an injury to a ligament meaning that a ligament has been stretched and damaged which then results in laxity. This means that there is an increased chance for the ankle to “give way”. Our muscles around the joint also provided stability to the ankle. This is where an effective exercise program will help prevent recurrent ankle sprains. The stronger the muscles are the less likely the ankle will “give way” and the muscles will provide more stability and support. Retraining our balance is also a very important factor as this will also help prevent the ankle giving way. Decreased balance is seen frequently following ankle sprains. The quicker our muscles are able to detect to an unexpected movement the less likely re-injury will occur.
In this video, Megan Tomkins runs us through some examples of exercises for improving ankle strength and balance before returning to sport.