Falcon Clinic

Lakelands Clinic

Another ankle sprain! Why does this keep happening and what to do about it.

Hi my name is Emily and today I am going to talk about chronic ankle instability – what it is, the signs that signal you may have it and some exercises that will help.

An ankle sprain is an injury where the ankle twists either medially or laterally. It is more common to have a lateral ankle sprain compared to a medial sprain. Lateral ankle sprains involve the ligaments on the outside of the ankle and can range from minor sprains to complete tears of the ligaments. Ankle sprains are most common in the athletic population, especially in sports such as basketball and netball, where there are quick changes of direction, but can also occur in the general population.

Symptoms of chronic (ongoing) ankle sprains have been reported to develop in up to 70% of people who have had an acute lateral ankle sprain. This can be described as a feeling of instability (like a wobbly ankle) for longer than 6 months. People who have had an acute ankle sprain who have recurrent ankle sprains are also at risk of developing ankle instability over time. Chronic ankle sprains are associated with reduced proprioception – which is the reduced ability to tell where your body is positioned and how your body is moving.

If you have been experiencing feelings of instability or your ankle has been giving way after your initial ankle sprain, continue listening for exercises that will help.

To improve proprioception and reduce the risk of future ankle injuries, a thorough assessment needs to be conducted to determine the contributing causes. This can be the strength of the muscles controlling your hip, knee and ankle, your balance and ligamentous integrity around your ankle. Based on the assessment findings, we can design a personal exercise plan to address the contributing causes of your ankle instability.

The following are 3 exercises that will help build your balance and strength of the muscles around your hips, knees and ankles. Bear in mind that these exercises are general exercises and you should consult a physiotherapist before starting these exercises, as they may cause more injury if done incorrectly.

Watch our video for a demonstration of these exercises!

Exercise 1: Y- balance exercise
Place 3 strips of tape in a Y-shape on the floor. Stand in the middle of the Y on your affected foot with your hands at your hips and reach forwards as far as possible without losing your balance with the other foot. Repeat this all around the Y.

Exercise 2: Passing a ball while standing on 1 leg
Standing on your affected ankle, pass a ball to a partner, or bounce the ball against a wall. The aim is to be able to catch the ball in all directions without losing your balance. To make this exercise harder, stand on an uneven surface – like on a towel

Exercise 3: Square hops
Using tape to make 4 squares on the floor, stand in one of the squares on the affected leg, and hop clockwise/anticlockwise around the cross.
If you think that you may have chronic ankle instability, book an appointment with a physio from Miami or Lakelands physiotherapy for a thorough assessment and a personalised treatment plan suited for your level of activity.

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