How common is Ankle Pain?
Among the body’s major joints, the ankle is the most frequently injured. In hospital emergency rooms and the sports setting, ankle ligament sprains are the most commonly seen injury to muscles or bones. You’d be hard pressed to find a netballer or basket ball player who hasn’t sustained a sprain of some sort.
What Causes Ankle Pain?
An acute ankle injury generally results from a sudden turning outward of the foot while supporting the body’s weight, or an external force striking the body from the side (such as during a rugby game). The quick, extreme pressure placed upon the ligaments around the ankle can cause them to tear.
The ankle is at it’s most vulnerable while the foot is Plantarflexed (toes pointed), as this ‘un-locks’ the ankle joint and becomes very unstable. A chronic ankle injury often develops over a long period of time, and can occur if the foot’s posture is unstable. This weakens the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint, making them more likely to tear – sometimes found in runners with flat feet.
What Can Auckland Sports Podiatry Do To Help Me Feel Better?
Much will depend on the severity of the injury, how quickly the injury is attended to, and the results of the examination. The treatment you do receive will generally focus on relieving pain and swelling (if any), restoring full range of motion (ROM), and strengthening the joint to help prevent a recurrence of the injury. In some cases, a device may be made to act as a physical blockage to rolling out (common in netball players) – primarily to avoid another injury and allow the ligament to heal at a normal length. The success of your Sports Medicine Podiatrist’s treatment plan will largely depend on how closely you follow his/her instructions, and how actively involved you become in your recovery program.
As My Ankle Heals, What Can I Do To Prevent Reinjury?
In most cases, patient involvement should begin during the healing process.
If your Sports Podiatrist has prescribed an orthotic device to help normalize foot and ankle motion, stabilize the joint, and protect your feet from what is known as ‘heel-strike shock’, it is very important to wear your devices all day long, so as not to upset the healing process, you may need to be wearing appropriate footwear to accommodate these devices.
What Kind of Exercise Should I Be Doing?
Your Sports Medicine Podiatrist can best determine what rehabilitative exercise would be suitable for your condition. Exercise is encouraged for ankle sprains to promote healing and strengthening of affected structures. An exercise program can also lessen the risk and severity of re-injury. Therapeutic exercise is often introduced very early in the healing process. For a highly specific exercise program, you may be strategically referred to a skilled sports Physio therapist – while also potentially using their facilities like ultrasound, acupuncture, massage and mobilisations.