Injury Prevention - Ankle

AdmiralAwesome

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Prevention of Ankle Sprains/Rolling
A simple way to develop strength, balance and coordination is to add one-legged squats to your training programs. The ability to perform this simple exercise easily and gracefully will develop your stability and core strength and also help you prevent injury, and improve your sports performance.

To begin adding this exercise to your routine you should start slowly and build up. You may find initially that you can not control your body, your ankle begins to wobble, your knee rotates, and your upper body sways. You may find your balance is not what you thought.

If this is the case, you may want to begin with simple one leg balancing until you can stand on one leg for 30 seconds. While performing this exercise, you will be developing the smaller stabilizing muscles. After several sessions, you will find your balance improves tremendously. Now it's time to begin one-legged squats to build strength.

How to perform a one legged-squat

  • Begin while in front of a mirror (over time you can leave the mirror behind).
  • Stand on one leg with foot pointing straight ahead and knee slightly bent.
  • Keep your weight centered over the ball of the foot.
  • Keep your upper body erect with your head facing forward.
  • Tuck your pelvis under and roll your shoulder blades back (don't round your shoulders).
  • Keeping the knee centered over the ball of the foot, lower into a squat position.
  • Start with shallow squats.
  • Once you develop your strength, coordination, and balance, you can add hand weights, or hold a medicine ball to build additional strength.
  • Repeat 3 sets of ten squats on each leg.
  • Over time, consider performing the squat on an unstable or smaller surface such as a mini trampoline or balance beam.
The one-leg squat exercise is a simple, fun and useful addition to any weight training routine. Try it and see!

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries any athlete will experience. It may be difficult to avoid that missed step, uneven ground, or trip off the curb, but if you've practiced one simple exercise, you may walk away without a serious injury. Sprained ankles, while sometimes due to a lack of lower limb strength, endurance or flexibility, are often caused by a lack of balance, or proprioception, to be exact.

The term proprioception refers to a sense of joint position. Proprioception training is highly common in rehabilitation of injured athletes, but it can just as easily be used to prevent injury. Even a strong ankle can sprain when running on uneven ground if the runner hasn’t trained the neuromuscular system to react appropriately. Slight deviations in terrain require slight adjustments of balance to avoid injury.

So you’re not a runner. Why should you care about balance? Well, for starters, it’s the basic skill needed in practically every sport. From soccer to tennis to rock climbing, changing your center of gravity to match your moves is the key to efficiency in sport. The technical term is agility. Agility is what allows us to move gracefully, wasting little motion. It allows our joints to move through the full range of motion smoothly and confidently. While the start of hiking season might require that your entire attention remain focused on the trail to avoid falling, after several weeks for hiking, you may notice that you are more confident in your ability to adjust to the terrain by foot feel alone, and you need to pay less attention to the trail. In this way you increase your kinesthetic coordination, and in turn your balance improves.

Kinesthetic awareness, or the ability to know where your body parts are in 3-dimensional space, is required for every movement we make. So it's not surprising that balance can be learned, challenged, and improved. Balance training aids come in a variety of forms, although you can just as easily improve your balance with little or none of the fancy stuff. We can train our bodies to improve the proprioception within the muscles, just by creating balance challenges for ourselves.

Here's an easy exercise you can try now: The One leg Squat and Reach. Stand on one foot. Next, reach forward and touch the ground or a small object in front of you and stand up straight again. You can also do partner exercise -- use a medicine ball and play a game of catch while balancing on one foot.
 

prubdag

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I have recently left RMR training due to repeated ankle injuries (plus ITBS, but I sorted that out before Hunters Moon, the last exercise I did). Would doing this help when you're night naving and walking on uneven ground/babies heads? I.e have people been able to yomp across this sort of ground a lot faster and easier after doing this?
 

Chelonian

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Would doing this help when you're night naving and walking on uneven ground/babies heads?
The OP hasn't been active on the forum for almost five years but hopefully others will chip in with opinions.
 

prubdag

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The OP hasn't been active on the forum for almost five years but hopefully others will chip in with opinions.
Yeah seen. You wouldn't know about this would you? Really didn't expect to get injured the way I did it's never really happened to me before.
 

Chelonian

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You wouldn't know about this would you?
There are others here better qualified than I am to advise on phys.
But for what it's worth, someone recently suggested to me trying this as a way of improving balance and stability. It sounds daft but I've tried it and it's an interesting experience which doesn't require an essay to explain:

Brushing one's teeth for two minutes while standing on one foot with eyes closed.

Babies' heads are a nightmare particularly at night. Even my horse would get anxious about them on very dark nights and she is very sure footed.
 

prubdag

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Babies' heads are a nightmare particularly at night. Even my horse would get anxious about them on very dark nights and she is very sure footed.
Yeah I was left quite bemused when some lads would just walk across it in pitch black and i'm struggling to keep up, even in the TA i had this problem but was at a loss as to how. I'll bet it's due to them having very good balance, stability and propreoception from the above exercises though, I'm hoping people here can confirm that.
 

Chelonian

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Yeah I was left quite bemused when some lads would just walk across it in pitch black and i'm struggling to keep up, even in the TA i had this problem but was at a loss as to how.
I struggled with babies' heads at night too but then I became so cheesed off with falling flat on my face that I started reckless charging across them, regardless. Suddenly I wasn't tripping over them so frequently. :confused:
Confidence can often be an asset.
 

JTech

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Yeah I was left quite bemused when some lads would just walk across it in pitch black and i'm struggling to keep up, even in the TA i had this problem but was at a loss as to how. I'll bet it's due to them having very good balance, stability and propreoception from the above exercises though, I'm hoping people here can confirm that.
After my prmc(while back) the physio PTI’s gave a handout on proprioception and it was something they highly advised in order to prevent injuries. Prehab I believe it’s called.
 

MassamanDave

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Did a proper job on my ankle back in june, training was going great and went for some active recovery jogging around the park. Slipped on some bark (crazy I know) and rolled it inversely and soon as I corrected my footing it rolled eversely.

Couldn't run for 2 months but I found performing pistol squats with a TRX rope really helpful for building stability up in the ankles and still meant I could work the legs some what while I couldn't run!
 

Chelonian

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Yeah I was left quite bemused when some lads would just walk across it in pitch black and i'm struggling to keep up, even in the TA i had this problem but was at a loss as to how.
I've been thinking about this. Definitely consider getting out onto some similar terrain in daylight and building some confidence. It's unlikely that any of the other lads had a superior innate talent for dancing across babies' heads. But intently focusing on feet placement degrades wider spatial awareness which creates its own hazards, particularly in a tactical environment.

Incidentally, my youngest niece does the one-legged-eyes-closed toothbrushing as part of her ballet class and says that improvement in stability was noticeable quite soon.

The person who told me about it was a youth player for a minor football team and it was just one element of his physio regime. If @arny01 spots this I'd be interested to know if it's also used in rugby physio.
 

arny01

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The person who told me about it was a youth player for a minor football team and it was just one element of his physio regime. If @arny01 spots this I'd be interested to know if it's also used in rugby physio.
Yep it is indeed!:D Special awareness and balance are connected! Improve one and the other usually improves also!!
 

Lockheed35

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Asking for some advice, my Prmc is booked for the end of the month and I appear to have tendonitis in my right ankle according to physio. It's causing sharp pains when running and even walking carrying weight. I haven't been to the doctors because it will flag on my medical record. I've been advised to rest it up to 3 months (cease running) to avoid irritation.

Should I ask my AFCO to delay or will it be red flags for them aswell??
 

Caversham

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Asking for some advice, my Prmc is booked for the end of the month and I appear to have tendonitis in my right ankle according to physio. It's causing sharp pains when running and even walking carrying weight. I haven't been to the doctors because it will flag on my medical record. I've been advised to rest it up to 3 months (cease running) to avoid irritation.

Should I ask my AFCO to delay or will it be red flags for them aswell??
Delay. If you try and complete a PRMC with an ankle problem then you will not get through the first day meaning an early train home and the loss of one of your PRMC lives.

Contact your AFCO and inform them of the situation. My guess is that they would be happier for you to delay until you're fit, then go down there to CTCRM with an existing injury.

Alan
 

Chelonian

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Should I ask my AFCO to delay or will it be red flags for them aswell??
As advised by @Caversham if you attend PRMC carrying an injury you're setting yourself up to fail it.

On a general note, in the past lads on here have sustained an injury immediately before PRMC and have notified their Career Advisers on the morning they were scheduled to travel to CTCRM. Stuff happens. Even at that late stage a postponement is doable and far preferable to rocking up with an injury that inevitably will be exposed.

By the way, lads have also deferred their Recruit Training start date on the day they were due to travel to CTCRM because of a last minute injury. Rocking up to RT with an existing injury or illness and thinking that it's possible to cuff it will always end badly.

Do listen to the physio advice you've had and actually rest. Don't assume that you know better and attempt to train your way past the injury, like what I've previously done. :(

If swimming is appropriate it might occupy your training time for three months. Also it's an opportunity to get a grip on basic navigation and dhobi (laundry) skills. Best of luck.
 
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