CH5 : The resurrection of balance
Following a sprained, torn or broken ankle, it is important to retrain your balance before returning to sport or simply to normal life.
Indeed, the risk of twisting the ankle a second time is greater after the first time, and this risk increases with the number of sprains accumulated in the past.
The theory states that muscles, tendons and ligaments that have been injured do not necessarily and automatically regain their full reflexes even after healing is complete.
It's as if they feel so great during their sabbatical that they've forgotten that they have to go back to work one day.
When the ankle lacks this reflex called proprioception, it reacts less quickly, or even less quickly than before, on uneven surfaces such as lawns and sidewalks in the city and that's where we fall or twist our ankle again.
Fortunately, there are exercise programs that can reduce these risks by focusing on improving balance.
Here is an example of a balance exercise progression inspired by a scientific article that is more relevant for athletes and people who are a little more in shape (1) :
Week 1 : Balance on the injured foot on a flat surface, with eyes open
Week 2 : Balance on the injured foot on a flat surface, with eyes closed
Week 3 : Balance on the injured foot on a soft surface, with eyes open
Week 4 : Balance on the injured foot on a soft surface, with eyes closed
The soft surface can be a pillow. Not on an Easter egg please.
The goal is to maintain balance for 30 seconds. In reality, everyone including athletes lose their balance after less than 5 seconds at the start of each level. It's normal. It's humiliating. That's why we do these exercises.
Safety first. Wear good sneakers and don't forget to have a chair nearby to hold on to just in case. Or hold onto the chair for the entire duration if you lose your balance every second. Or perfect a level for a few more weeks before jumping to the next one.
The exercise must be repeated 3 to 4 times a day, 5 days a week to improve balance. Once you're happy with the gains and just want to do maintenance, it's 3 days a week.
For high-level athletes, I suggest an extension of the program (1) :
Week 5 : Balance on the injured foot on a flat surface while dribbling a ball with the other foot or hands. Eyes open.
Week 6 : Balance on the injured foot on a soft surface while dribbling a ball with the other foot or hands. Eyes open.
Finally, since I have no knowledge of your health condition, I must warn you that all the recommendations contained in my article are for informational purposes only and are not appropriate for everyone. Please use your best judgment and consult a physiotherapist if you are unsure as you are fully responsible for any accident and harm that may occur to you as a result of a personal interpretation of this article.
With that, I wish you a prompt resurrection of your balance and happy Easter!
(1) McGuine, T. A., & Keene, J. S. (2006). The effect of a balance training program on the risk of ankle sprains in high school athletes. Am J Sports Med, 34(7), 1103-1111. doi:10.1177/0363546505284191