Chronic Ankle Instability – What is it?
You have probably found this page because you are interested in learning about chronic ankle instability. Each ankle injury is different so this offers an idea of what physios would prescribe and should not be taken as direct advice for you. For a specific plan to get you out of pain book your complimentary discovery call here.
Ankle sprains involving the lateral (towards the outside) ligaments are extremely common in both the sporting environment, and every day life.
20% of all cases result in chronic ankle instability due to deficits in postural control, proprioception and muscle strength form the original injury. Proprioception is one of the key areas worked on during rehabilitation of an ankle injury and should be continually developed. The word ‘proprioception’ basically means how aware you are of your body parts in space e.g. when walking over a stone, your ankle readjusts itself to stay balanced so you don’t fall.
3 Drills To Train Your Ankles
We’re going to take you through some simple drills that you can do to strengthen all aspects of your ankle. You’ll need to progress these as they become easy to keep challenging your ankle, but we’ll follow up those in a later email. It’s all about habit, so try and sneak these into your warm up, your morning routine or set aside an hour each day specifically for them.
Single Leg Stance
This is a really simple exercise used in ankle rehab, but if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it right? It’s really easy to regress and progress this exercise as you get better!
Using your unaffected leg first, stand on one leg with a slight bend in the knee and shift your weight through different points of the ankle. There should be slight movement through your ankle for the weight transfer, but the rest of your body should remain stable. Aim for about 20 seconds each side to start and build up as you can. If you need to, you can hold onto something to help balance initially, but try to reduce this as quick as possible. Repeat this on the affected leg and try to do this 6 times on each leg, 3 times a day.
This is a great exercise for strength and balance. You can do this by using tape or cones, or anything to mark 12 places on the floor. You need to place the markers at each number on a clock face. The bigger the clock face, the harder the exercise, so start with a smaller circle and expand it as you progress.
Start with your unaffected leg in the middle, and tap the markers with your other foot. Have a slight bend in your knee and control the movement so not to put full pressure through your foot. Swap legs and repeat. Have a look at this video!
Do this 3 times on each leg and try to progress each time, even if it’s only slightly, every win’s a win!
Jump Land Exercise
This is a great exercise for later in your ankle rehab, but really promotes stability and balance! You can progress and regress this as you wish, by adding change of direction, different surfaces and different height stimulus.
As a basic starting point. Try starting on two legs, shoulder width apart, then jump forwards and land on one leg. This exercise is all about stability and strength, so start by jumping short distance and then build up. You need to have a slight bend in your knee when landing, and try to reduce the amount of upper body movement once you’ve landed
Try 10 of these on opposite sides each time.
Written by Abbie Parsons, edited by Nicole Crewe.
The Physio Crew.