Physical Therapy To Address Chronic Ankle Sprains And Associated Ankle Instability - Iron Health Physical Therapy & Cryotherapy
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Physical Therapy To Address Chronic Ankle Sprains And Associated Ankle Instability

Ankle Injury

Proprioception, Balance and Coordination Training to Address the Unstable Ankle

Anatomy of the Ankle:

The main ankle joints are the talocrural joint, the subtalar joint, and the high ankle. The talocrural joint is where the lower leg bones, the tibia and fibula, meet the top of the foot, the talus. The talocrural joint allows for pointing and flexing the ankle. The subtalar joint is below the talocrural joint and it is made of the talus and the heel bone, the calcaneus, allowing for tilting of the ankle from side to side.

The high ankle is where the tibia and fibula meet right above the talocrural joint. These different articulations allow for our ankles to move through multiple planes of motion and adjust to varied surfaces. There are ligaments that attach from bone to bone within the foot/ankle that help provide stability to the joints. The lateral or outside edge of the ankle is stabilized by the anterior and posterior talofibular ligaments and the calcaneofibular ligament, while the

Chronic Ankle Sprains Leading to Instability:

The most common ankle sprain involves “rolling the ankle” with the foot in a plantar flexed and inverted position. With this mechanism of injury, the anrtero-lateral ligaments are likely to be sprained or in worst cases, ruptured. Research has shown that following an ankle sprain, there is some inhibition or “quieting” of the signal that helps fire muscles both locally at the ankle/foot and up the chain at the hip girdle. This creates a relative weakness on the injured side and increases the likelihood for re-injury. Those who continue to “roll” their ankles are now increasing the mobility at the

Keeping this in mind, an untreated ankle sprain can cause more problems later on if the neuromuscular system is not rehabilitated properly before returning to activity.

Treatment for Chronic Ankle Instability: 

  • Static and dynamic balance activities in weight-bearing positions on varying surfaces (flat ground, foam pads, balance discs, rocker or wobble boards) to re-train the neuromuscular system

  • Agility and coordination training using ladder, dot, and/or square drills

  • Lower body strength and stability training, focusing on hip strength in addition to lower leg strength (ankle strengthening in 4 directions with a resistance band or pulley, squats, lunges, lateral band walks, monster walks)

Disclaimer: If you continue to experience unbearable, reoccurring pain, be sure to schedule an appointment with your physician or join our physical therapy family and allow us to help you regain function.

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Samantha Stadt

Samantha Stadt

Staff Physical Therapist
Samantha earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Providence College in 2010 and then her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from New York Medical College in 2015. She has been a licensed physical therapist since 2015 and has enjoyed working with an active orthopedic population with an emphasis on manual therapy and exercise prescription. While working as a PT on the west coast she pursued continuing education to hone her skills. She completed an orthopedic manual physical therapy residency and fellowship program through The Ola Grimsby Institute in Seattle, WA from 2016-2018, culminating in membership as a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. She loves guiding people back to activity and empowering them to take control of their health, wellness, and fitness.