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July 8, 2009

Easy Prevention For Ankle Sprains

If you've sprained your ankle, chances are you'll be much more likely to sprain your ankle again, according to a recent health article in the New York Times.

A growing body of research suggests that many of those second (and often third and fourth) sprains could be avoided with an easy course of treatment. Stand on one leg. Try not to wobble. Hold for a minute. Repeat.

For years, clinicians thought that instability in ankles (which is also responsible for bad balance) was the result of traumatized and overstretched ligaments. Taping or bracing the joint for stability was thought to help with healing, but it ignored a crucial element necessary for recovery: proprioception.

“There are neural receptors in ligaments,” says Jay Hertel, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Virginia and an expert on the ankle. When you damage the ligament, “you damage the neuro-receptors as well. Your brain no longer receives reliable signals” from the ankle about how your ankle and foot are positioned in relation to the ground.

Now cutting edge rehab can occur in your own home. Stand on one leg. Try not to wobble. Hold for a minute. Repeat. If that's too easy, cross your arms over your chest or close your eyes. Still too easy? Stand on a pillow. Three minutes of this easy exercise daily can greatly improve your balance.


Posted by linda at July 8, 2009 8:08 PM

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