Sprained or Injured Ankles
I find that most of my knowledge, although I’m trained as an osteopath, comes further from direct experience in sports and related injuries, through my patients and especially my own!! For example, when I started at Rowville Family Osteopathy, I couldn’t work on my first day if work as I had to call in sick due to an injury I sustained in Jiu Jitsu the day before!
I’ve been doing Jiu Jitsu for 6 years and find it a great way to learn about myself. With Jiu Jitsu, submission based grappling quite often takes your joints to its passive end range. While playing with these boundaries sometimes you can strain, tear or even rupture a joint, its attached ligaments and injure other supportive soft tissues. For the injury that stopped me working on my first day, it was of my ankle – a torn anterior talo-fibular ligament. This is not only common in Jiu Jitsu, but some exterior ligaments of your ankle are also compromised when you roll/sprain it which we see a lot more of.
In this article, I will provide information about a sprained or injured ankle that I had to revise when rehabilitating my own ankle.
The deltoid ligament, which is in the inside of your ankle, is stronger than its equivalents on the outside of the ankle; this is partly why most sprained ankles happen when we roll our foot inwards. This action with weight bearing creates a down ward force from our leg to the outside of our ankle and can sometimes rupture these ligaments.
Most surgeons today will advise against surgery for minor to moderate injury, due to the understanding now that surgery increases the scar tissue around the ankle and therein reduces stability of the ankle in the long term. I myself have seen many patients previously that have reconstructive surgery multiple times purely to reduce scar tissue, and increase movement of the joint, because the joint was not attended to the right protocols post injury.
Moderately sprained ankles with slight tear through the outside ligaments are quite a common injury, with most people not actually knowing the level of tear they have sustained. They just feel sharp pain on specific movements, which can be associated with or without weight bearing. The sharp pain, however, doesn’t mean you have actually torn a ligament. This sort of injury really would take about 2-3 months of proper rehabilitation before regaining optimal function. This includes throughout the many joint complexes affected, from your mid foot, forefoot, up through your leg and even into your hips and back.
I tend to break it into three stages of care;
Treatment – It Does Help! It helps reduce inflammation It helps increase, regain neural integration (studies have shown it only takes 36 hours before changes happen at a neurological level not only at the injured area, but also in the spinal cord and in the brain) this can affect other areas. For example; a sprained ankle can lead to decreased gluteal muscle activation. It helps increase range of motion
Rehab! Rehab! Rehab ! Exercises can help restore, increase your joint function and stability through both regular and complex movements.
Return to Life, Activities & Sport – Optimal Function Restored
The Difficult Part
We commonly use pain as a key performance index. Therefore, when the pain stops, we think that the joint is better. Coming from a back ground of professional sport, I get it, and I’m a victim. I previously have done whatever I need to do to get myself out of the red, and back into training.
The next few weeks to a month I have observed my motivation towards therapy and rehabilitation exercises rolling down a steady hill as more of the pain disappears. Due to doing this, I have created many compensations through my body, compensations that slowly get reinforced through training, weight bearing and habit. Then later, upon training, or increasing stress to the body, another injury pops up somewhere else. Before you know it, you’ve got two pages of rehab exercises with a commitment and date with my osteopath for the next 6-12 weeks, again!
I hope this information helps shed some light on the procedures that health practitioners use, regarding treatment and managing dysfunctions that may or may not be caused by trauma. These protocols are simple, common but effective but sometimes can be hard to follow or understand when you are the person in the centre of it! Feel free to give us a call at Rowville Family Osteopoathy on 9780 8980 if you have any questions or queries about your own case, and we will do our best to try and help!