Sports physiotherapy for ankle sprains is a relatively new field of research in the field of sports medicine and rehabilitation. In fact, back in the 1960s, athletes who sprained their ankles would be wrapped in an ACE bandage, and simply told to “keep it elevated and stay off it.” Research gained sophistication when coaches began to notice that athletes who sprained an ankle were likely to repeatedly sprain the same ankle. Why did this happen? The answer lies in the word “proprioception.”
Proprioception: Found in Space
Efficient human movement relies on your nervous system’s ability to receive information from different types of receptors, accurately process that information and trigger an appropriate response. Extroceptors and Proprioceptors are the messengers responsible for transmitting feedback to the nervous system. Extroceptors receive input from outside the body. Proprioceptors receive input from inside.
The Eyes and Ears Have It
The eyes and ears are your chief extroceptive organs. Anyone who wears glasses knows that the ability to discern and interpret visual stimuli has a profound effect on dynamic balance. Meanwhile, structures within your inner ear transmit information to your brain regarding head position and speed of head movement. This is one of the many reasons why proper neck alignment is essential for balance and injury prevention. If you sign up for sports physiotherapy for ankle sprain treatment, don’t be surprised if your physiotherapist focuses on your neck alignment!
Proprioceptors and Mechanoreceptors
Our proprioceptors inform us of our position in space. When balance is threatened, proprioceptors in the feet, hands, muscles and bones alert the nervous system. When the brain receives this information, it instructs the rest of the body about how and when to react to these changes.
The mechanoreceptors are the sensory cells that provide feedback regarding joint position. Once this information is processed, they assist in choosing the best muscular response. In an article featured on the October, 2006 edition of Biomechanics, certified athletic trainer Brandi L. Ross explains that recurrent ankle sprains cause ligament and mechanoreceptor damage, which in turn reduces proprioceptive awareness and increases postural instability.
The Domino Effect ensues. Postural instability reduces movement coordination and control, which in turn causes more falls and more sprained ankles. Breaking the cycle requires a re-education of your mechanoreceptors. This is exactly what you get when you sign up for a sports physiotherapy for sprained ankle treatment program at Happy Physio in Perth, Australia. Your physiotherapist will not only re-educate your mechanoreceptors – all physiotherapists at Happy Physio strive to educate their patients and instill a sense of autonomy and self reliance.
Your Sports Physiotherapy for Ankle Sprains Program
The first phase of treatment involves reducing the inflammation that occurs after the injury. This will involve ice treatments, elevation and use of a compressing bandage. Once the swelling subsides, your sports physiotherapist will prescribe ankle alphabets and different types of ankle flexion and extension exercises.
When you are able to bear weight, sports physiotherapy may include a series of one-legged balance exercises. Once your balance improves, your physiotherapist will put you on a “prehabilitation” program, which involves exercises performed on a balance board, balance disc, foam roller or BOSU.
Ankle strengthening exercises also play an essential role in the sports physiotherapy for ankle sprains program. Your physiotherapist might use exercise resistance bands, or the Clinical Pilates equipment. Like all sports physiotherapy programs at Happy Physio, an analysis of your static and dynamic postural alignment and your muscular balances and imbalances are an integral part of the therapeutic process. In some cases, your physiotherapist might even consult with your athletic coach, regarding your athletic technique and your sport-specific footwear. Call us now at (08) 9443 4991 to experience a program that’s comprehensive, and that works.