On Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Kansas City Chief Sandy Commings was pulled from the practice field after twisting his ankle during a tackle. He was the second person on the team to suffer an ankle injury that week: right tackle Donald Stephenson had injured his left ankle only two days previously.
Ankle instability, or weak ankles, is among the most common injuries suffered by athletes, but it’s also exceptionally common in the general population: studies suggest that around 36,000 Americans injure their ankles each day. At New York Dynamic Rehabilitation clinic (NYDNRehab) we offer gait analysis and ankle instability treatments like Computer-Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN) to analyze and rehabilitate injured ankles.
Though ankle strains and ankle sprains are often confused, there are significant differences. An ankle strain is an injury involving the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon, occurring when a stretched muscle suddenly contracts. This often happens during running or jumping. Symptoms of ankle strain include pain, spasms, weakness, and limited range of motion. Chronic strains resulting from stress or overuse may result in tendinitis, a condition of tendon inflammation.
An ankle sprain is an injury to a ligament resulting from a fall or a traumatic blow that throws the ankle out of alignment. In most cases the sprain occurs when the ligament supporting the joint becomes over-stretched. This can happen, as in the case of Sandy Commings, when an individual twists his or her knee while the foot remains firmly planted on the ground.
A common ankle sprain is an injury to a ligament on the outside of the ankle, the anterior talofibular ligament, that helps stabilize the ankle. A high ankle sprain, on the other hand, is injury to a set of ligaments located above the ankle, the syndesmosis. The syndesmosis functions as a shock absorber and prevents the bones of the legs from splaying. High ankle sprain typically occurs because of sudden twisting. Pain radiates from the ankle upwards through the leg. In most cases high ankle sprain treatment is similar to common ankle sprain treatment, consisting of rest, recovery, and icing. The major difference between the two injuries is that high ankle sprain treatment typically lasts longer than regular ankle sprain treatment because the syndesmosis is subjected to higher pressures. The period of recovery for high ankle sprain may be twice as long as ordinary treatment for ankle sprain.
At NYDNRehab we use several advanced methods for ankle instability treatment. Technological gait analysis allows us to analyze all the different vectors of a person’s motion in the search for irregularities. A patient walks along a treadmill in our lab. Markers are attached to the body at certain key locations. These markers send information to a computer workstation equipped with motion-capture software that analyzes the gait. Using these findings we’re able to prescribe exactly the kind of treatment needed to rehabilitate injury. We also CAREN, an immersive virtual-reality environment with a computerized platform and 180-degree hemispherical screen that creates imaginary environments and allows the patient to perform exercises that would not be possible in a realistic clinical setting. With over fifteen years’ experience in sports and orthopedic injuries, NYDNRehab provides some of the best treatment for ankle sprain in New York City.