Easy Ankle Sprain Test
A good technique for testing ankle instability is to have the athlete face away from the examiner and rise up on their toes. A heel that appears lower than the other heel may suggest some instability due to a sprain. In addition, if the athlete's ankle wobbles, balance and strength training is necessary to prevent continued injury. If this does not bother the
athlete, have them walk forward on their toes. If there is no noticeable limp, have them rock back, stand on their heels, and walk backwards. These functional tests will help tell a light twist from a serious sprain.
Balance Ankle Sprains
Spraining an ankle not only injures ligaments and tendons, it affects an athlete's balancing ability. For the athlete to return to play at a highly competitive level balance needs to be worked on. We suggest having the athlete stand on the affected leg while brushing their teeth in the morning and evening. After 1 - 2 days increase this to 5 minutes one or two times daily. When this can be achieved with little difficulty, progress to 5 minutes with
their eyes closed.
Ankle sprains are very common in sports. Preventing them will decrease time-loss of your athletes. One very important item to train is balance. By utilizing a wobble board during conditioning sessions the athlete will be one step closer to preventing ankle sprains. Have the athlete balance on the wobble board, one leg at a time. Begin with 30 - 60 second bouts with the eyes open. Then progress to 30 - 60 second bouts with the eyes closed. Remember to train both legs.
Strength in Numbers
To build strong, well-defined calf muscles, pile on the repetitions, not the weight. The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles have more Type II (slow-twitch) muscle fibers than some of the other major muscle groups. Type II fibers are responsible for endurance activities and respond to a high rep/low weight strengthening program. When doing Calf raises use three to four sets of 20 to 30 reps with 20 -50 pounds of weight. Try performing these with the toes elevated or on one leg when a good base of strength is attained. As always, when lifting weights use good technique and perform the lifts slowly to get the
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