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Stop the Ankle Sprains

It goes something like this right. Play, roll your ankle, rest until it stops hurting than you play and roll your ankle again. It seems like a horrible never ending, merry go round cycle. What is it that you are missing, why does that annoying ankle never stop rolling? It is actually pretty simple. It has not stopped rolling because you have not done anything to stop it from rolling. If you go into a situation and all the circumstances are the same than the chances are so will the outcome. Would you ever go into a game with a strategy and get destroyed than come back the next game with the same team with the exact same strategy. No, it sounds silly but that is what many athletes do with their ankles.

From Experience

When I played football it was the same story for me I am not going to lie I had to of rolled my ankle a dozen times. I would sit out a practice or two maybe tape it up and hope for the best. Sometimes I was lucky and other times guess what I ended up with an ankle injury again. The cycle never stopped for me, until the day I decided to make it stop.  You have to be ready to make it stop that is the bottom line. If you enjoy rolled ankles there is no real point in continuing to read.

Why does it keep happening?

Every time an ankle rolls not only is the ankle weakened but sub sequentially the ankle is at greater risk of being injured again. The structure of the whole lower leg and the foot must be strengthening as if it is one unit.

Note: No rehab should take place until you are cleared by a professional to begin activity. Or else you are risking doing more damage and therefore increasing your injury time.


Rehab or Prehab should be done 5 days a week (which takes 15 minutes a day max) and should go on a rotation like this…

Monday – Balance Work

Tuesday – Calf Strength

Wednesday – Foot Strength

Thursday – Tibia Work

Friday – Ankle Strength.

Balance

Mix it up with the following exercises. Every Monday will help increase your balance and the strength of your ankles.

Bosu (soft side up)

  1. Standing on the bosu with one foot, will strengthen the stability muscles in the ankle and lower leg. Over a period of time they will be strengthened. This is so easy to make harder as you can close your eyes, squat, catch a ball, tilt your head back the possibilities are endless. Balance for 5 reps for as long as you can. If you feel you can do it forever than make it harder.
  2. From the flat ground jump on to the bosu and balance yourself on the bosu. This helps to get your ankle use to landing and balancing at the same to stop the classic jump land and roll your ankle. 15 jumps per ankle.

Reaction Ball

  1. The reaction ball is amazing because you never know which way it is going to bounce. Not only does it keep your ankle guessing but it keeps your mind guessing and enhances your reaction time. While strengthening your ankle you get the benefit of better hand eye coordination. Stand on the ground on one foot and either have someone bounce you the ball or your bounce it yourself. After it bounces catch it no matter which way it bounces.

Wobble Board

  1. Balance on the wobble with 2 feet on the board and set new personal records for how long you can go without having a side hit the ground. Spend 10 minutes balancing on the board trying to chase after new records.
  2. Same as number one but on one foot.

Calf Strength

Alternate these two exercises every week to strengthen the calves

Seated calve raises

  1. Seated calve raises are a vital in preventing ankle sprains. When you invert your ankle it stretches the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.  At the same it also stretches and weakens the soleus. Seated calve raises need to be done to get this muscle as strong as possible.

Standing Calve Raises

  1. Standing Calf raises are also important because the gastrocnemius accounts for most of the leg so getting it strong will only help the strength of the entire lower leg.

Foot Strength

Above the ankle needs strengthening and so does below the ankle. Every week work on the towel crunch, and spend as much time as possible in your week being barefoot.

Towel Scrunch

  1. Lay a towel on a smooth surface like tile or a hard wood floor. Place your foot on it and scrunch your toes together. This works many of the small stability muscles in your foot that are often forgotten.

Bare Foot Training

  1. The best way to strengthen your feet is to be barefoot. END OF STORY. Training barefoot is excellent and actually decreases chances of ankle rolls because there is no heel to roll on. What causes most ankle injuries is the heel/ankle being further from the ground because of shoes.

Ankle Strength

Every week do directional ankle movements with therabands to finally strengthen the actual ankle ligaments in all the planes they move. Do each exercise for 2 sets of 15 reps.

  1. Dorsi flex – Put band around foot in a position so that it resists you foot trying to move towards you. This will work the tibialis muscle or the shin muscle.
  2. Turn bottom of foot outwards – This will strengthen the ligaments, and the muscles on the outside of the foot and is a really important exercise because in most ankle sprains these are the weakened muscles.
  3. Turn bottom of foot inwards – Though most people do not roll their ankle in a way that this exercise become the most important one. It should still be done to be sure and make the whole ankle stable.
(original image by sportsmedicine)

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