Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Port Orchard, WA
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I am a physical therapist so I like to offer my advice to fellow riders in situations like this. You don't need a brace. Most boots are stiff and ridged enough to provide ampule support. If you've had numerous ankle problems e.g. sprains in the past and have not gone through the appropriate rehab then your going to have recurring ankle instability. I do not know the extent of your ankle problems but here is the gist of it in terms of ankle rehab. Keep in mind this is post acute, no gross swelling, fractures or ligament tears or ruptures. A little info in what actually happens with a ankle sprain. So a sprain is when you over stretch the ligament, ligaments hold joints together e.g. bone to bone. there are 4 main ligaments that hold the ankle 3 on the lateral side and 1 large on the medial side. Most ankle sprains are inversion sprains, when the foot rolls inward and pain occurs to the lateral aspect of the ankle. Generally followed by immediate swelling and bruising. There are several grades of a sprain determining how badly the ligament was stretched grades 1-4. feel free to Google the different grades if your curious to know the differences, basically 1 is least 4 is complete rupture. Moving on, Ligaments are elastic like tissue that is allowed to stretch to an extent within the ligament fibers there is what's called a muscle spindle. looks very much like a spring. These spindles are neuro receptors, basically they send a messages to the brain telling it how much the ligament is stretching. when the spindle is stretched out to its end range it sends a message to the brain to tell your foot to retract to prevent injury. With a sudden ankle sprain your body and can not react fast enough to make the correction, thus damaging the ligament e.g. a sprain. So when this happens the ligament is now permanently lengthened, or lax, causing instability. In minor sprains grade 1-2 not to bad, grade 2 and higher could be significant. With that being said rehab helps correct this problem by retraining the muscle spindles to how long the ligament now is so that re-injury does not occur as frequently. Additionally, its equally important to strengthen the supporting muscles to better support the ankle. This is all done through skilled, research based therapy. I can show you some exercises that would be beneficial for ankle sprain rehab.
1. Theraband resisted ankle strengthening (Google Theraband resisted ankle inversion, eversion, dorsiflexion and plantar flexion).
2. Functional strengthening, Standing heel raises/calf raises
3. (advanced in terms of ankle rehab) Plyometric line hops forward, backward, side to side. You can even be creative and spin jump line hops. doing 180's or 360's over the line.
4. (advanced) Box jumps from different heights. Focus on controlling how your feet, ,knees an hips absorb the impact, think of your legs as springs with out allowing your knees to dive in.
5. Balance and stability trainers (these retrain the spindles) Single leg balance with knee slightly bent, target time 30 seconds 5 times. Once that is easy single leg balance with eyes closed 30 seconds 5 times. Then Single leg balance on something soft stack of towel, throw pillow, couch cushion or you could buy balance training tools, personally I like the BOSU Ball, I own two and love them. Then next phase in this is to incorporate functional exercises with balance e.g. lunging on to a soft plat form so that front lunging foot lands on soft unstable platform do this in many direction forward, oblique, side ways. and finally jumping and landing on unstable soft plat form.
Remember this is a typical ankle rehab plan, plans vary between individuals injury and level of fitness and medical history. If you are uncomfortable doing something like this I would advise you seek out physical therapist to take you through this process and ensure your doing everything correctly. Additionally stretching is equally as important as strength, and stability. I believe too many people rely on supportive devices such as braces when all that they really need is to train there bodies correctly. I hope this helps. good luck.
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2012 NS Legacy 163.
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Last edited by DirtyD27; 11-19-2012 at 07:36 PM.