Ask A Pro
I first sprained my ankle as a teenager, but have sprained it many times since. I seem to sprain it so easily now and have to be very careful how I step to avoid injuring my ankle. My doctor recommended physical therapy to help my ankle. How will therapy help?
When you sprain your ankle, the ligaments & soft tissue are stretched beyond their normal limits. This leads to pain, swelling, & difficulty walking for several days.
But, there is also injury to the joint "proprioceptors". These receptors send a message to your brain to tell you where your body is in space. We know about other senses such as taste, hearing, and smell, but we also have a position sense - knowing where your body is in space. For instance, close your eyes and using your senses, "feel" where your foot is. Proprioception is the body's ability to react appropriately to your position sense. With the ankle, this means that your foot and ankle can adjust to uneven surfaces such as walking on gravel or a grassy, bumpy yard without injury. When a joint is injured, there is a deficit in proprioceptive feedback to the brain. This leads to problems with balance and coordination which can cause recurrent ankle sprains.
During physical therapy, the joint receptors can be re-trained by using specific exercises and activities that challenge the balance and reaction time of the injured joint. This rehabilitation will help to strengthen your ankle, improve proprioception, and reduce the risk of re-spraining the ankle.
If you find that you have a high frequency of ankle sprains, give Corvallis Sport and Spine Physical Therapy Clinic a call to evaluate this issue.