Lots of runners experience ankle sprains and have lingering symptoms if not managed correctly. Adequate recovery from an ankle sprain can prevent future injuries and decrease one’s chance of chronic pain.


A recent research article analyzed movement patterns after landing on one leg. The study compared individuals with chronic ankle instability and those with an ankle sprain expressing no reports of symptom recurrence.  


What is Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI)?

The classification of an ankle sprain that persists with debilitating dysfunction, recurring sprains, and continuous symptoms from the sprain.


How does one’s movement strategy differ in individuals with CAI after landing?

Those with CAI show increased hip flexion when landing which can lead to a higher risk of injury.


This altered movement pattern can affect surfaces that runners can safely run on. Runners can experience increased difficulty, as well as increased risk for re-injury, when running on trails, grass, and uneven surfaces. 


Individuals recovering from an ankle sprain or CAI should complete exercises that address balance, ankle stability, and strength to minimize risk of future strain.


Take home from study:

Skilled and individualized rehabilitation is a necessary step toward recovery from an ankle sprain. Exercises to address CAI must encompass both distal (i.e. ankle) and proximal joints (i.e. hip) for full recovery.


Options for strengthening after ankle sprains:

Hip Band Series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2iWccf78TU

Single leg Palloff Press https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVG6nCegzrg

Hand to heel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3O0_YggM-0

Squats https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR6cm–o-Hk

Reference: Doherty, C., Bleakley, C., Hertel, J., Caulfield, B., Ryan, J., & Delahunt, E. (2016). Single-leg drop landing movement strategies in participants with chronic ankle instability compared with lateral ankle sprain ‘copers’. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 24(4), 1049-1059

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