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I have been aware of my ankle recently. Since Christmas I set myself the challenge of running 100 runs in 100 days. It’s going really well but my ankle is occasionally irritable.
My ankle is stiff because I didn’t rehabilitate it thoroughly when I was younger. I played a lot of sport through university and had several injuries. At one stage I sprained this ankle every football season for four years. This was before I became a physiotherapist and understood the importance of rehabilitation.
Ankle sprains are really common in active young people. In the year to July 2014, ACC reports there were 28,602 ankle sprains (15-24 year olds) at a cost of $12.9m.
Most ankle sprains are significant and some are very complex. Every ankle injury is different. The longer an ankle remains swollen or stiff compared to the other ankle, the more complex. Good first aid including resting from aggravating activities, icing, compression, elevation, and light movement will reduce the damage.
If there is a loss of ankle movement, the muscles become weaker, your sense of balance will reduce, and you will lack power and strength. A poorly rehabilitated ankle injury will reduce your performance, make you more likely to re-injure, and can lead to bony changes (early onset of arthritis). You should be aware that, even if it feels good, for many months after you will be more likely to re-injure the ankle.
Your physiotherapist will diagnose the problem and get you on the right track. The main aim is to get the swelling under control, return full movement and recondition your ankle. We will tape, stretch, strengthen, improve balance and agility, and reduce your risk of re-injury.
I know that when I was at university, I didn’t follow through and fully rehabilitate my ankle—partly because I thought it was okay, and partly because I didn’t want to spend the money on extra sessions. Now as I look to complete my running, I wish I had had more foresight and looked after my ankle more thoroughly at the time.
Always consult a physiotherapist to get some good advice. I highly recommend coming and seeing us at Willis Street Physiotherapy @ Vic. We are experts in rehabilitation.
Ground Floor, Student Union Building, Gate 1, Kelburn Parade, Kelburn
Phone: 04 384 8314
The ACC website is a good source of injury prevention and injury management information.