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The Old lady and the near Ankle Sprain - blog post image

The Old lady and the near Ankle Sprain

Stuart Fossella - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 | Comments (0)
Posted 3 years ago
Girls feet

The Drunk Ankles

Walking towards the shops this morning and almost in slow motion I witnessed a slightly ‘older’ lady become a victim to a sprained ankle.

Fortunately she managed to stay upright and hobbled off with that slightly mortified look of…please don’t let anyone have seen that!

I actually nearly applauded her ability to stay on her feet, as I thought it was a good save! This leads me on nicely to mention a couple of ankle pain patients we have seen in the last 2 weeks.

Its almost as if the beginning of spring/summer has heralded the unstable ankles!

In quick succession 3 patients have described nearly the same set of symptoms to me, recurrent cases of rolling or spraining the ankle over the last 2,3 or 4 years, and they all have one thing in common:

What’s that I hear you ask with baited breath…

None of them have done a rehab programme of any kind in the past.

Which is a shame because it could so easily have prevented further ankle sprains.

Why? What’s the relevance of rehab then?

The ankle as I’m sure you can tell is a mobile joint. Just have a wiggle of your own foot and see how far you can spin and turn your foot in or out. Now have a little think about how you need to be able to control this potentially excessive movement in everyday activities such as walking and taking stairs.

Then think about the level of control that’s required in more demanding activity such as sport or dance. Rapid changes of direction, hopping, leaping, the odd step over, or Jason Robinson shuffle.

That’s a lot of movement to control to prevent an ankle sprain.

So how do we prevent Ankle Sprains?

The body has its natural inbuilt stabilisers, the ligaments.

Have a look at this link to a website that illustrates the ankle ligaments:

Image of Ligaments here

When we sprain an ankle, it’s the ligaments that we overstretch. This causes pain, and swelling.

Check out this picture of an ankle sprain that a patient gave me to use, proper job hey?

Sprained Ankle

I do love a good ‘injury selfie’ so if you want to share any buzz them over via Facebook on the Straight Back Physiotherapy page-

Facebook Link Here

Have a look at the Facebook page for some videos examples of ankle rehab.

So we need our ligaments to be working well to prevent ankle sprains. They work because they are loaded with sensors that tell the brain when they are being overstretched (as when we roll the ankle in spraining it).

When the brain senses that we are about to roll the ankle it sends messages to the muscles around the ankle to adjust the position of the joint to prevent the sprain.


When the system works!

After ankle injury the sensors and bodies ability to react to repeated sprains is slowed. So the next time you might be in a position to roll or sprain the ankle there is every chance that you will – put simply your reaction time is slowed – a bit like the effect having a pint or 2 has on you.

Consider it a ‘drunk ankle’. If you don’t sober it up again you may roll it again and again.

So how do you know if your ankle is drunk?

What’s your ability to stand and balance on 1 foot like?

Go on stand up, balance on 1 foot and turn your head from side to side, what happens? Is it different left vs right foot?

Are you better 1 leg than the other? Maybe it’s a sign of a slow to react ankle.

Time to do some rehab!!

If you know anyone with an ankle that always collapses and gives way? Show them this, it might just help.



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