The importance of recovery after an ankle ligament injury

Tania Erasmus

Ankle injuries are probably the most common across all sports and can recur if it is not rehabilitated correctly the first time. It is necessary to consult a medical professional to determine the grade of injury to the ankle.

An ankle injury gets graded according to the extent of the damage to the ankle ligaments. The immobilization period after an ankle injury gets determined by the grade of the injury. At some stage, all types of ankle injuries will have to undergo rehabilitation. The ankle joint plays a valuable role in the human body, especially if you’re into sports like basketball and football. If you’re a very active person, there’s a good chance of injuring your ankle joints at some point or another, which is why you need to know what the best regime for ankle rehabilitation is.
Ankle injuries need full rehabilitation before return to sporting activitiesApostolos Vamvouras/Unsplash

Ankle rehabilitation is a necessity for many people who experience an ankle sprain. A sprained ankle can cause quite a bit of pain and distress in your lifestyle, but there are several options open to you for treating it and getting back to doing the activities you want to do. It’s also necessary to ensure that you keep it in good shape by wearing supportive footwear when walking or participating in physical activity.

Your ankles are incredibly complex joints and are responsible for numerous movements, including bending and straightening, rotating, and ablating. These motions help you walk, run, jump, and do many other activities.

Ankles have several ligaments that hold your joints together, and ankle instability is usually the result of these ligaments tearing or stretching. Ankle ligament injuries can range in severity from mild sprains up to severe ruptures.

A severe ankle sprain, for example, can cause the ligaments to rupture completely, leading to a condition called syndesmotic ankle instability. Syndesmotic ankle instability is an injury to the ligaments that hold the tibia and fibula together. The severity of this condition ranges from mild to severe. The mild form usually doesn’t require surgery, but some people will need a brace or cast. More severe injuries can cause the ankles to be severely unstable, making it painful to walk, run, or even stand. Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments supporting the ankle are stretched or torn.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that 13 percent of athletes with ankle sprains suffered another ankle sprain within 12 months. For athletes who played more than one sport, the rate was 20 percent. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that those who returned to play after an initial ankle sprain were 35 percent more likely to reinjure it. Ankle injuries are some of the most common orthopedic in sport.
Recovery and re-education of ankle movement after an injury remain crucialHannah Reding / Unsplash

These 5 steps might help you regain full function again after an injury:

1. Weightbearing activities

Taking weight on the injured ankle is a crucial part of recovery. Initially, it would be easier to stand next to a table and gradually shift your weight from one foot to the other while supporting your weight through your arms. Try to maintain weight bearing for at least thirty seconds on the injured foot before transferring it back to the other side. Repeat this soft, controlled movement thirty times if possible.

Weight-bearing is an important part of recovery because the ankle joint and structures take the full weight of the body. Introducing weight-bearing gradually will prevent limping when you walk. Weight-bearing has a huge impact on bone cells. After a period of immobilization, it is necessary to retrain the joint and bone to adapt to the impact of weight so that the bone can become firmer and denser. This will prevent conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis in the ankle later in life. After your recovery period, you can include exercises like walking, hiking, step climbing, jogging, dancing, and even aerobic step exercises in your routine. All of these will have long-term advantages, and prevent re-injury of the ankle.

2. Muscle strengthening

Ankle problems should not prevent you from doing the things you enjoy. However, simple exercises that focus on ankle stabilization and range of motion can help alleviate the pain and stiffness associated with ankle injuries.

1. Step-ups with Balance Discs: Stand with one foot on a step and one foot on a balance disc. Slowly step up with your right foot, keeping your left foot on the balance disc. You should feel a stretch in your calf. Perform 5 sets with each foot.

2. Single Leg Balance Exercise: Stand on one foot and hold a balance object (a medicine ball ) in the other hand. Engage the muscles in your ankle, and raise your leg as high as you can. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then lower your leg. Perform 5 sets with each foot.

3. Lunge: Start in a lunge position, with your front foot forward. Slowly bring your back leg back, keeping your front foot on the ground. Do 5 sets with each foot.

4. Walking with a Balance Disc: Stand on one foot and hold a balance disc in the other hand. Walk forward, keeping your balance. Perform 5 sets with each foot.

3. Improved ankle range of motion

An improved ankle range of motion is associated with better athletic performance, improved athletic injury prevention, increased quality of life, and increased longevity. Furthermore, a wider range of motion of the ankle can reduce pain in surrounding structures (muscles, ligaments) and increase your ability to tolerate activity. Even though many things can improve your ankle range of motion, stretching is a priority.

These activities include ankle circles and ankle lifts.

Ankle circles: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Turn your front foot out 180 degrees. Keeping your balance, circle your foot 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counterclockwise. Perform 5 sets

Ankle lift: Lie on your back with your legs stacked, pull your feet towards you 30 times and point your toes 30 times. Perform 5 sets

Stretching your calve muscles is also very important. Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscle stretches, must be done before and after training.

After an injury, the ankle joint becomes stiff or stiff and painful. Ankle joint stiffness can lead to decreased mobility, pain, and decreased performance. It is important to regain range of motion as soon as possible.

4. Proprioception retraining

What is proprioception? Proprioception is the neurological awareness of your body’s position in space. Simply put, it’s how well your nervous system collects and interprets signals within the joint capsule, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and skin that are associated with movement. When your proprioceptive ability is good, your body performs coordinated actions almost effortlessly.

Proprioception is crucial when participating in activities. The ankle joint, in particular, requires proprioception for accurate movement and balance.

Proprioception exercises are a series of exercises based on balancing one leg. It is recommended to stand on an ankle- and lower-leg exercise ball, rather than on a flat floor when you retrain your proception. It keeps you in better alignment, and the ball provides a more dynamic reinforcement and biofeedback for your foot.

5. Regaining function

For many people, ankle problems can significantly impact their quality of life.

Ankle injuries are some of the most common reasons people miss work.

Without the ability to walk, climb stairs, or participate in sports, many people find it difficult to hold down jobs or enjoy time with friends and family.

Ankle fractures, sprains, tendonitis, and other conditions are often difficult to diagnose. Most ankle injuries are the result of direct trauma to the ankle.

But injuries are also a result of repetitive use, poor posture, or poor fitness.

Most ankle injuries can be prevented or at least minimized by wearing the right shoes, having proper posture, and staying physically fit.

The ankle is an incredibly complex joint, supported by numerous bones and surrounded by ligaments and tendons. Ankle sprains occur as a result of one or more of those ligaments being stretched, torn, or completely ruptured.
The ankle is a very complex joint.Nino Liverani / Unsplash

The ankle is a hinge joint. Therefore, the ankle is unstable. It can be twisted, turned, and rotated, with each step. It supports the full weight of the body, and therefore the ankle also bears the brunt of impact during movement, such as running, jumping, or cutting. More and more, ankle injuries are occurring in athletes, because of overuse and high-speed, high-impact sports. This type of injury can lead to many complications, including a stress fracture, instability, and arthritis. To help prevent ankle injuries, stretch your ankles before and after exercise. Warming up is also important because it increases the blood flow to the muscles and tendons and reduces the likelihood of injury.

An injured ankle can be tough to rehabilitate, but with the right exercise routine, you can get back to walking normally in no time.

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A writer with a strong focus on feel-good local stories in and around the San Jose area. Animal Lover, Physical Therapist, and Local Business Supporter.

San Jose, CA

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