Ankle sprains: Why do I keep rolling my ankle? Exercises to stop it happening!
There are position receptors, “proprioceptors” located in your joints, ligaments and tendons. They sense where your body is positioned in space, sending this info to your brain.
With any injury, such as a rolled ankle, there is likely to be altered proprioception. Has your ankle ever felt vulnerable on uneven ground or with unexpected movements? Poor proprioception is why its common to suffer recurrent ankle sprains – the ankle stability muscles don’t kick in when your ankle starts to roll.
By using unstable surfaces, we can retrain the stability muscles to function as they did pre-injury – or even better! That’s why it is excellent for you to practice walking on uneven surfaces after an injury.
Your challenge to test your stability:
(Caution: stand near a wall for safety when first trying this)
- Can you stand on one leg with your eyes closed? Try keeping your balance there for more than 10 seconds.
- Was this too easy? Stand on a rolled up towel to challenge your balance. Eventually you can add multitasking like throwing and catching a ball to this exercise.
In our gym, we use exercises on foam balance beams and the Bosu to retrain proprioception. A real challenge is walking on the beam with your eyes closed. Most of us are heavily reliant on vision for body awareness, and taking this away really works your other positional senses! The goal is to retrain your balance and co-ordination, as this will reduce your risk of re-injury.
By Alla Melman, Physiotherapist