Chronic Ankle Sprain

Like the various musicians in a symphony orchestra, athletic movements require different muscles to activate and deactivate in a very co-ordinated fashion.  When disrupted, this orchestra of muscular activity can not only affect athletic performance, but can also lead to different injuries.

Ankle Pain

Ankle Pain

Chronic Ankle Sprain and FAI

Functional instability of the ankle (FAI) is an example of an injury that has been shown to affect muscular activity in other areas of the lower limb.  With functional ankle instability, many people have a history of repeated ankle sprains.  Although their “bad ankles” are not painful, these athletes feel like their ankles may “give way” at any time.  Several studies have shown that these athletes can have hamstring, tensor fascia lata and peroneal deficiency during double leg to single leg jumps.  The significance of this can be shown through an example…

Chronic Ankle Sprain – One Explanation

Imagine a soccer player with a previous ankle sprain who moves from standing on two legs to standing only on their previously injured leg (like when they plant their stabilizing leg to kick a ball). Given the findings mentioned above, these players may not have normal muscle activity in the standing hip because of their ankle dysfunction.  As a result, they may injure their lower back (for example) because there wasn’t a co-ordinated muscular response to adequately stabilize the spine.  This is a case where an athlete incurred a non contact injury to the lower back because of “bad ankles”.

Treatment for Chronic Ankle Sprains

Thankfully, identifying functional ankle instability and prescription of individualized exercises can help to prevent these other injuries.  Proprioceptive exercises help to re-train the foot and ankle joint.  When this is combined with the appropriate strengthening and soft tissue treatment (like Active Release or Graston Technique) repeated ankle sprains can be prevented.  Our clinic can be reached at 905.220.7858 or  Our Physiotherapists and Chiropractors are waiting to help!

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Solomonow M. Sensory-motor control of ligaments and associated neuromuscular disorders. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 2006; 16: 549-567.

Van Deun S, Staes FF, Stappaerts KH et al. Relationship of chronic ankle instability to muscle activation patterns during the transition from double-leg to single-leg stance. American Journal of Sports Medicine 2007; 35: 274-281.

Zampagni ML, Corazza I, Molgora AP, Marcacci M. Can ankle imbalance be a risk factor for tensor fascia lata muscle weakness? Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 2009; 19: 651-659.

The purpose of this blog is to educate patients and those interested in improving their health and wellbeing. We recommend that you always consult with a qualified health care professional before applying any of the topics or suggestions mentioned on this website. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat your condition. Our chiropractic clinics in Burlington, Dr. McIntyre or Dr. McDowall accept no responsibility for any complications arising from the use of any suggestions, exercises or topics of discussion on this site. Should you have any further questions about these topics please contact our chiropractic clinics in Burlington.