The unique part about this joint is that it bears the maximum body weight. But this can become unstable too…. Because the ligaments supporting the ankle become weak or damaged, leading to a sense of instability, recurrent sprains, and difficulty maintaining balance. This then is termed as Ankle instability.
1. Functional Ankle Instability: This occurs when the ligaments are stretched but not necessarily torn. The person may experience a sensation of the ankle "giving way" during activity, even though there may not be visible signs of swelling or pain at rest.
2. Mechanical Ankle Instability: This is often the result of a previous injury where the ligaments have been torn or stretched significantly. It can lead to long-term problems with the stability of the ankle joint, and individuals may feel unsteady even during normal activities.
The Danger Signs
Common causes of ankle instability include: - Ankle sprains.
In maximum cases if it is not treated properly, the individual may fall in the trap of experiencing ankle instability. If the sprain is not properly treated (Inadequate rehabilitation), there is observed a failure to strengthen and restore flexibility of the joint. This can then contribute to instability.
Also occurrence of repetitive stress & engaging in activities that place excessive stress on the ankle ligaments, such as certain sports or occupations, can increase the risk of instability. Moreover, there are certain medical conditions that affect joint stability such as arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Sensations of the ankle giving way during a physical activity fall under the grave symptoms of ankle instability. Prominently, when chronic pain or discomfort such as swelling is observed in the region specific to the joint, it leads to ankle instability in most of the cases.
Another red flag is seen when the individual experiences difficulty in walking on uneven surfaces. In all these conditions, it becomes necessary for the athlete or non-athlete to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis & treatment at ABTP.
See Through of Ankle Instability
The experts from ABTP not only utilize physical examination but also conduct biomechanical assessments. Firstly, the medical history is reviewed, and as per the case’s requirements, the imaging tests (X-rays or MRI) are also reviewed to assess the severity of ligament damage.
Surgery Recommendations & Recovery
Surgery may be considered as an option if the conservative treatments remain ineffective or if there is significant ligament damage. Surgical options include ligament repair or reconstruction.
Preventing ankle instability involves taking steps to strengthen the ankle muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injuries with the help of balance and proprioceptive training.
The Experts from ABTP create physiotherapy training programs depending upon the unique needs of every patient. According to the case’s requirements, they focus upon strengthening of the muscles adjoining the ankle.
After the identification of root cause, a plan is made which includes stretching of muscles as well as their strengthening (including the calf muscles, perennial muscles, and intrinsic foot muscles ). This further reduces the risk of future injuries
Physiotherapy for Joint Pain (Ankle Instability)
Depending upon the type of damage occurred, there are different physiotherapy programs offered at one of the most advanced physiotherapy centers at Delhi – The ABTP JMVM Center. The physiotherapists or the experts at ABTP provide customized treatment plans based upon the grades of ankle sprain which can vary from mild (Grade 1), Moderate (Grade 2) & Severe (Grade 3).
The Physiotherapy Management
The treatment approach for ankle sprain at ABTP Sportsmed Centre is tailored as per the patients need. A proper examination and assessment is done manually as well as with the help of biofeedback mechanisms enabled through advanced technological interventions available at the center. Such assessments have never been seen in India before and involving these, individualized patient care and exercise programs are devised.
The treatment takes place in four phases. These are as follows-
1. Acute phase/ inflammatory phase: It’s important to follow PRICE Principle in this phase. It is commonly put into use by the experts in the initial management of the injury.
· P- Protect
· R- Rest
· C- Compression
· E- Elevation
In order to improve Range of motion (ROM) and reduce pain, passive mobilizations techniques are incorporated by the therapist. The mobilization strategies involve gentle movements of the affected joint or the part, this helps to reduce the stiffness, improves flexibility and decreases discomfort.
2. Sub- acute phase/ proliferative phase: In this phase various types of exercises are encouraged in order to induce the best mode of recovery. This helps the patient to set his path towards regaining functionality.
One-of-a-kind Methods adopted at this phase
· Active ROM exercises
· Strengthening exercises like isometric exercises of ankle in pain free range
· Balance and proprioceptive training
· Stretching exercises
· Joint mobilization
In order to protect the joint tapping is also done at the beginning of this phase.
3. Rehabilitative phase/ remodeling phase: in this phase the level of exercises increases.
· Stretching exercises are being performed with increased intensity
· Joint mobilization ( Grade I,II,III)
· Strengthening exercises like weight bearing exercises
· Eccentric/ concentric exercises
· Proprioceptive training on single leg
4. Return to sports/ functional phase: This phase have high intensity exercises
· Ankle stability on soft surface
· Various types of Sports drills
Get Back to Life with Post-Injury Rehabilitation
Balance and Proprioception Training: There is then incorporation of balance exercises into your routine to improve proprioception (awareness of body position) and enhance ankle stability. Examples include single-leg stands, wobble board exercises, and balance on uneven surfaces with the help of biofeedback mechanisms.
Functional Training: By the incorporation of functional training exercises that mimic the movements you perform in your daily activities or sports, allows recovery to gain pace. This helps the body adapt to the specific demands placed on the ankles during regular tasks.
Seek Professional Guidance: If you have a history of ankle injuries or are concerned about instability, consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional. They can assess your specific situation, provide personalized advice, and recommend exercises or interventions tailored to your needs.
Recovering from Ankle Instability takes its own pace and the recovery time varies depending on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment. It may take weeks to months for conservative treatments and longer for surgical interventions.
Remember that individual needs and risk factors may vary, so it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances.