How Tennis Players Can Resolve and Prevent Ankle Sprains
Is your ankle sprain interfering with your ability to play tennis? Are you frustrated that you keep rolling your ankle what seems like every time you play tennis? At Movemend Rehab and Performance our physical therapists use the most up-to-date strategies to help you resolve your ankle problems and know what to do to prevent them from becoming an ongoing issue!
The leading causes of acute tennis injuries are falls and twists, with ankle sprains accounting for up to ¼ of all tennis-related injuries. The severity of the injury depends on the magnitude of damage to the ligaments that support the ankle. Unfortunately, and far too often, tennis players ignore their injury or stop short of full resolution, only to re-injure and develop a persistent problem.
Improper or inadequate rehabilitation is the number one reason for an ankle sprain. Up to 70% of individuals who sustain a lateral ankle sprain develop chronic instability and re-injury. One of the most important steps you can take to avoid future problems is to seek help from your physical therapists.
The good news is that our physical therapists are experts at resolving the injured ankle while addressing all the factors that contribute to preventing new injuries and/or re-injury.
Call Movemend Rehab and Performance today to request an appointment with one of our highly skilled physical therapists and let us help you resolve this issue so you can get back to the courts more prepared than before your injury!
Why are ankle sprains common in tennis?
Ankle sprains are often the result of a faulty step while chasing down a ball or pivoting to change directions quickly. The leading cause of this injury is the angle in which the foot lands; most are inversion sprains (i.e., rolling outward).
Slow-motion videos have shown tennis players with the foot landing in a pointed (plantarflexed and inverted) position. When the ankle rolls, twists, or turns in an awkward way, the outer aspect of the ankle is injured (i.e., lateral ankle sprain). The severity of the injury will determine the degree of pain, inflammation, and ability to move the joints where the injury occurred.
The sudden stretch leads to partial or complete tearing of the ligaments supporting the ankle joint. In addition, the nerves that alert us to the ankle position are also injured. This loss of reaction to the position of our ankle is called proprioception. So although the main emphasis is often on the injury to the ligament, the damage is more comprehensive, which is part of the explanation for future problems.
The vast majority of ankle sprains are inversion type, approximately 85%. This type of injury damages the outside (lateral) ligaments and may lead to restrictions on moving the joint. The joint restrictions will, in turn, affect your ability to tolerate side-to-side movements and to cut or change directions at any speed.
In addition, a previous sprain, especially an untreated sprain, may compromise the strength and integrity of the stabilizers and interrupt the nerve’s ability to sense where the joint is. These limitations often lead to chronic instability and the increased risk of future sprains.
Fortunately, our physical therapists at Movemend Rehab and Performance can identify the severity of your injury and the factors contributing to impairments so that you can resolve your issues and get back to playing tennis pain-free!
What to expect in physical therapy after an ankle sprain
The physical therapists at our clinic can help you recover after an injury using the most advanced techniques and methods.
First, we will start with an injury evaluation and thorough history to identify all the factors contributing to the injury and understand your overall health status and goals.
Next, we will use this information to develop a comprehensive program that includes targeted manual techniques, mobility work, strengthening, and appropriate pain relief techniques for the individual athlete.
Our focus is on giving you the tools immediately after the injury that allow the fastest, most effective recovery process.
The issue with the RICE method
Recently there have been some indications that ice and rest do not enhance the recovery process but may actually delay recovery. In comparison, compression and elevation have some evidence to support their continued use.
Resting after an injury has been shown to have a negative effect on the recovery process for quite some time. Movement helps tissue to heal and recover faster. It has been found that those who begin moving the injured part sooner have shorter recovery times and faster returns to activity.
Even more significant, it has been shown that immobilization delays recovery and may also hinder the ability to recover after an injury fully. By resting, there is a lack of physical stress on the injured area, which can cause atrophy and impair the healing process, resulting in a limited functional return after injury.
After an injury, the new recovery rules include recommendations to move the injured area sooner than later and continue using compression and elevation for swelling control. Icing is undoubtedly helpful for pain control, but it is simply not effective for reducing swelling and may delay the healing response if used too long after the initial injury.
Why should I choose Movemend Rehab and Performance for ankle sprain treatment?
Simply put, Movemend Rehab and Performance’s physical therapy treatment programs will be tailored to your specific needs. We don’t do cookie-cutter treatment here! Our programs are comprehensive and backed by results!
Your treatment plan will include strengthening exercises and dynamic movement patterns to stimulate your nervous system and its ability to react to challenging situations.
We will progress you through more and more challenging exercises and activities to simulate the requirements of cutting and pivoting to ensure the ankle is ready to handle real-life situations on the tennis court.
Request an appointment today!
Call our physical therapy clinic today to request an appointment with Movemend Rehab and Performance. Let us help you resolve your ankle sprain and prevent future problems from arising. Our therapists have proven results with tennis players and tennis-related injuries!