2Steps Solutions: Weak Ankles & Ankle Mobility
Weak ankles can cause instability, limit performance and can easily “roll” during activity. Ankle weakness can be caused by previous injuries, muscle weakness/imbalances or inherent structural issues.
Functional & Increased Risk Factors:
- Lack of proper warm up with both static stretching & dynamic movement before activity
- Previous ankle sprains
- Limited range of motion or inflexibility
- Supporting muscle weakness
The Importance of Support
It is a well-accepted fact that previous ankle sprains are one of the most prevalent risk factors for a future sprains. While few practices demonstrate the long-term effect of strengthening the supporting muscles and participating in a balance/proprioceptive program, systematic reviews have shown that when there is a history of a previous injury the use of external support can be very effective. Surprisingly, these reviews have also noted that the use of external supports, including both taping and bracing reduces the incidence of ankle sprains even in those without prior injury. 1,2
Addressing Ankle Mobility to Decrease the Risk of Injury to the Lower Extremities
Several studies have examined the effects of decreased dorsiflexion on movement patterns during lower extremity movements such as squats, step downs, and jump landings. During all these tasks, decreased ankle mobility was associated with knee valgus collapse. Research suggests that ground reaction forces were increased by 10% when participants had decreased dorsiflexion while landing, suggesting that decreased ankle mobility may increase an athlete’s risk of injuries including ankle sprains, pes anserine strains, ACL tears, patellofemoral pain syndrome, and overuse injuries to the Achilles tendon. Considering the thousands of landing and running repetitions an athlete performs in one season, addressing this restriction is important for helping to keep the athlete in top shape.
For more information: Ankle Mobility Article & Stretching Guide
Weak Ankle Treatment & Prevention
Preventative measures for weak ankles include strengthening the supporting muscles and participation in a balance/proprioceptive program.
Medi-Dyne’s 2Steps™ Solutions make increasing ankle stability and supporting weak ankles easy.
Step 1: Immediate Relief
Support the Ankle
Support which alleviates pain, promotes circulation and ensures that the ankle is both stable and supported will go a long way towards healing and improving performance.
Cho-Pat Dynamic Ankle Compression Sleeve
Cho-Pat’s VE Ankle Compression Sleeve combines warmth, compression, and support in a unique easy-entry design. Anatomically contoured for comfort and effectiveness, the sleeve provides a wide, adjustable front entry which makes it to slip on and off without further irritating a sensitive ankle. Latex and neoprene free. Available in four sizes for more specific results.
Step 2: Long Term Healing
Stretch and Strengthen Supporting Muscles:
- Anterior Tibialis
- Achilles Tendon
- Plantar Fasciia
Both preventing and rehabilitating weak ankles requires strengthening the ankle’s supporting muscles. The ProStretch® Plus makes it easy for athletes to perform all of the necessary stretches including independently, effectively and efficiently
Due to an athlete’s ability to control and perform stretching at varying degrees, medical professionals world-wide have found that the ProStretch Plus provides both a convenient and effective way both rehabilitate as well as stretch and strengthen all of the ankle’s supporting muscles.
Additional Ankle Strengthening Exercises include:
- Resisted Inversion
- Resisted Eversion
- Resisted Plantar Flexion
- Resisted Dorsiflexion
Downloadable stretching guides
Online stretching videos
Up-to-date injury information
Available for download to all Training & Conditioning Magazine subscribers.
- Prevention of Sports InjuriesSystematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
Sari Aaltonen, PT; Heli Karjalainen, PT; Ari Heinonen, PT, PhD; Jari Parkkari, MD, PhD; Urho M. Kujala, MD, PhD
Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(15):1585-1592. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.15.1585.
- Dizon JM, Reyes JJ. A systematic review on the e!ectiveness of external ankle supports in the prevention of inversion ankle sprains among elite and recreational players. J Sci Med Sport. 2010;13:309-317. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2009.05.002