In my previous blogs, I’ve written educational pieces about common shoulder and knee injuries in volleyball players and how they can happen. I wanted to switch gears this time and speak about one of my personal experiences.
In 2019, I sprained my ankle (inversion sprain) while playing volleyball and was in pretty rough shape as I wasn’t really able to walk on it for the first two days. For the first 24-48 hours I followed the typical RICE protocol (rest, ice, compress, elevate), did gentle active range of motion exercises, and worked on my walking mechanics.
Over the next few days, my range of motion started to improve and my walking was better but I was still feeling quite a bit of stiffness in the front of my ankle especially when going down the stairs. After a lateral ankle sprain injury, it is common to experience stiffness or pinching with weighted dorsiflexion in the front of the ankle. This can be due to scar tissue formation in the talocrural joint capsule and joint stiffness in the talocrural joint. When injury occurs, the scar tissue that heals over the injured area is oriented in a single direction, which is less functional than the random basket-weave orientation of the original fibers. I live by the philosophy of “move it or lose it” so in order to regain mobility in a joint, simply put; you gotta move it.
Here is an exercise that I worked on that helped me regain my ankle mobility and got me back to onto the court.
Ankle Dorsiflexion Self-Mobilization:
Secure a band or belt around a stable object. Place the affected foot into the band on a step and position yourself facing away from the object with the loop of the band in the front of the ankle crease. Get into a lunge position and create tension in the band. With the foot placed firmly on the step, drive the knee forward out over the foot while keeping your heel on the step.
Hold for 1 minute and repeat 3 times.
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Melisa Luong MScPT, BScKin