How To Treat Ankle Pain
Restoration of ankle function is the first objective in physio rehabilitation. Tolerance of weight-bearing, range of motion, and normalising your gait will form this period of rehab. Patience will be tested here as they will feel like a return to sport is just around the corner. However, we know the rates of tissue healing in different tissues and ligaments will take a few weeks to sufficiently heal if there has been swelling and bruising in the days following injury.
The next stage of the rehab process will be to return strength levels to pre-injury levels or to improve them if that strength was insufficient in the first place. In addition to strength, your power and rate of muscle recruitment will need to developed through plyometric exercises and running drills.
Running and agility drills will probably be the most challenging aspect of the rehab process. These exercises will be the most demanding in terms of ankle stiffness during the acceleration and deceleration phases. A progressive, pre-planned programme should be followed as much as possible. Once you have overcome a task of a specific difficulty, you should move onto the next challenge. Variables such as speed, running surface, angle of turning, with/without ball, with/without opponent, and recovery time should all be adjusted to challenge you.
Once given the all clear to return to sport, the best evidence suggests that you should complete at least four individual training sessions prior to competing in a match. This will reduce the likelihood of reinjury significantly.