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Ankle Injuries

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]Introduction
Ankle injuries are commonly referred to as a sporting injury due to their high incidence rates in sports that involve jumping, twisting, sudden bursts of speed, direction change and turning movements such as basketball, volleyball, netball and football. However something as simple as walking on an uneven surface can cause a painful and debilitating ankle sprain.

The most common type of ankle injury is Ankle Sprains, where in most cases the ankle rolls inwards (inversion sprain), under the weight of the rest of the body as a consequence of jumping, landing or changing direction. This results in damage to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, most commonly the Lateral Ligament.

Adequate rehabilitation of your ankle injury is very important to reduce the effects of persistent symptoms to the ankle and prevent the incidence of re-injury.

Ankle rehab

The ankle joint is a hinge joint, that is formed between the tibia and fibula (bones of the lower leg) and talus (bone of the foot) that allows the foot to bend upwards (dorsiflexion) and downwards (plantarflexion). The joint also allows a small amount of rotation (inversion/eversion) and it is movements outside this normal range of rotation where ankle sprain injuries occur.

The ankle joint is held together by ligaments, which act as strong elastic bands of connective tissue, which keep the bones in place while allowing normal ankle range of motion. Tendons attach the muscles to the bones to do the work of making the ankle and foot complex move and help to stabilise the joint.

With inversion ankle sprains the most common injury ligament is the Lateral Ligament, which consists of three parts:
1. Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL)
2. Calcaneofibular Ligament (CFL)
3. Posterior Talofibular Ligament (PTFL)
These three ligaments work together with the peroneal muscles, which run down the outside of the calf muscles to keep the ankle joint stable. Of the three, the ATFL is the most commonly damaged ligament in inversion ankle sprains.

Injuries to the inside of the ankle resulting from the ankle rolling inwards (eversion sprain) are rare and much less common compared to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The inside of the ankle is held together by the:
• Deltoid Ligament, which is made up of the Anterior and Posterior Tibiotalar Ligaments and the Tibiocalcaneal ligament
• Tibialis posterior muscle

ankle rehab

Injury Classification

The severity of ankle sprains are classified into 3 grading’s:

Grade 1: Mild sprain, with damage to a few fibres within the ligament. Swelling and bruising in and around the injured ankle is common but should dissipate within 1-2 weeks and by 3 weeks post injury everyday movements such as walking should be pain free

Grade 2: Moderate sprain, with painful, significant but incomplete tears to the ligament fibres. Recovery period is usually 4-6 weeks before considering a return to sports drills to allow optimal strength of the new scar tissue however can depend on complexity of the injury.

Grade 3: Severe sprain and usually involves complete rupture of the ankle ligaments. Often pain is not experienced over the site of the rupture and can also involve fractures to the bones near the rupture site. Rehabilitation normally takes 6-12 weeks, however varies greatly depending on the severity and complexity of the injury.

Early Management
When you sprain your ankle it is usually obvious, you start to feel your ankle roll and doesn’t correct itself causing it to fall into an extreme position. The incidence is generally painful but usually once the ankle joint cools down after the sport or activity is usually when the damage becomes more obvious. Initially it is common that the ankle joint is swollen, bruised and weight bearing is both painful and difficult.

Early rehabilitation management focuses on reduce the pain and swelling in the joint as well as restoring the normal range of movement. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on how bad the sprain was. This is achieved by focusing on the PRICE principle of Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The earlier you do this the more likely you are to aid in the healing process.
• Protection may involve the use of crutches, to avoid painful weight bearing through the joint, or where a fracture has been detected the use of a moon boot for immobilisation is frequently used. If you experience difficulty putting any weight through the foot/ankle immediately after the injury could indicate a break. Seek further medical advice if weight bearing is very difficult and painful.

• It is important post injury to let your body and ankle joint rest, so that the body can do its job in repairing and regenerating the joint. Simple ankle movements such as flexing the ankle both forward and backwards in the early stages is beneficial to help reduce swelling and promote blood flow to the joint.
• Regular icing is recommended to assist the body in combating any swelling that may occur in the joint and reducing inflammation.
• Using compression bandages on the joint can also assist in reducing swelling to the joint.
• While inflammation and swelling of the joint is common it is important to elevate the ankle/foot throughout the day to prevent the swelling and pooling in the ankle joint.

ankle rehab

Restoring strength back to the lower leg is the next stage of the rehabilitation process. This starts with building strength in the muscles that surround and support the ankle joint and then moving up the chain to include muscles that are important in long-term stability and return to sport such as the hips and abdominals. Exercises such as heel walking, toe walking and simple eversion exercises with the aid of a resistance band are simple but effective exercises for this stage of rehabilitation.

Ankle rehab

Proprioception and balance are two factors that are commonly compromised in ankle injuries and can be forgotten about during the rehabilitation process. Once pain and swelling is under control, it is important to retrain our awareness of where our bodies are in space by challenging balance and muscle control around the ankle, knee and hip. Balance retraining is an important part of the rehabilitation awareness as it prepares our body for a return to sport and also aids in reducing the risk of a recurrent injury by improving reaction time to unexpected movements and unstable surfaces. Once the ankle is strong and pain free standing on a balance board, a cushion or uneven surface with one leg and adding ball throwing and challenging balance with your eyes closed can help retrain proprioception.

ankle rehab

Finally exercises that are specific to your chosen sport such as jumping, landing, and change of direction are incorporated to prepare the individual for a return to sport.

It is important to remember that each ankle injury and individual is different, therefore it is hard to always give an accurate timeframe for recovery and return to sport. Factors such as swelling management, previous history, strength and stability of the ankle joint and surrounding muscles and the severity of the injury will ultimately dictate the recovery and return to sport timeframes.

Even after your return to sport, it is important to continue to perform your specific ankle rehabilitation program long term to continue to keep your ankle strong and help to minimise the risk of re-injury.

ankle rehab

Ankle sprains can be both frustrating and annoying injuries but if they are dealt with correctly you can reduce the chances of re-injury and return to sport and every day activity without concern. It is important you rest immediately post injury to allow your body to do its thing and to have your injury properly assed in order to achieve the best outcomes from your rehabilitation.

Contact the RAD team so we can assist you along the right track with your ankle sprain by providing an individually tailored and specific rehabilitation program based on your needs to get you back on your feet playing sport or running around the park with your kids as soon as possible.


Chloe Egan

Exercise Physiologist[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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Strength and Conditioning for the Junior Football Athlete

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]Structured strength and conditioning is an integral component of Australian Rules Football. Regardless of the level of competition the benefits are the same; S&C training will help develop your athletic performance and minimise your risk of injury. But what about junior footballers? It’s a question we are commonly asked and the short answer is YES, all junior footballers (boys and girls) should complete S&C work. There is now a plethora of research supporting the positive impact strength and conditioning training can make to all junior athletes.

Firstly, we need to address what S&C training comprises of: Strength and conditioning is the overall preparation of an athlete, specific to the sport they play. AFL athletes for example need to develop a broad range of physical components (eg. speed, endurance, strength, agility). At the junior level, we can lay the foundational base for these skills to be developed and applied. The most widely accepted model for including S&C work for young athletes is the concept of long-term athletic development (LTAD). LTAD is the framework for what athletes should be doing at specific ages and stages and I would encourage all junior coaches to become familiar with the levels of LTAD.

What exactly can strength and conditioning do for young footballers? We believe there are THREE main areas to focus on when delivering S&C to young athletes, these are:
1. Make it FUN!
Kids are playing the sport because they love the game. We are big advocates for making sure we include the ball in any training drill, even if the focus is conditioning. There are a number of ways to do this (eg. keepings off handball), where you can apply both skills and conditioning into the same drill. Modifications can be made to make the drills more or less challenging and the kids will certainly enjoy it more if they don’t see it as fitness related work.

2. Teach them to move.
Most juniors are taught skills, and while this is highly important I think that there are some basic modifications to drills that can help teach kids to move. Basic skills such as landing, jumping and changing direction can not only assist athletic performance but can also form the basis on injury prevention. Next time when kids are practicing some handballing or kicking see if they can balance on one leg; when we run, jump, kick, change direction we only have one leg on the ground so learn to apply these skills in a controlled environment.

3. Think of the long-term picture.
You don’t need to replicate what you see the elite level doing. Simplify things and stick to the basics – they’re easier to deliver and are more effective in the long run. Even with minimal equipment there are so many variations of exercises or drills that can address many of the physical components required in the game of AFL.


Want to know more? If you are a junior footballer, or coach junior footballers get in touch with us at – we cater to all age groups.



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Football Conditioning Session

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]Football conditioning session
Wednesday 12th April White Flat Oval
Females 9am-10:30am
Males 10:30am-12pm
Ages 14-18
Cost = $10
Session overview:
Warm up
Speed & agility
Landing mechanics
Conditioning with footys
Injury prevention and strength work

Ball work will be included right throughout the session.

To book your spot message the page or send an email to:[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]