Manual Nerve Mobilization Therapy May Help Resolve Ankle Pain and Instability


Chronic Ankle Instability

Ankle sprains are common sports injuries that occur when the ankle rolls in a lateral motion, doing damage to muscle and connective tissue. Forty percent of patients suffering a lateral ankle sprain develop chronic ankle instability (CAI), which can impede performance, cause ongoing foot and ankle pain, and lead to more injuries down the road.

A suspected catalyst for CAI is peripheral nerve damage that occurs with a lateral ankle sprain. Inflammation and scar tissue at the injury site can reduce the space around a nerve structure, putting pressure on the nerve and interfering with optimal neural function. Remember that your nerves send and receive information to and from your brain, telling your muscles what to do, so a compressed or damaged nerve can undermine normal joint movement and cause instability.

Manual Nerve Mobilization

Manual nerve mobilization is a therapeutic technique applied to the injury site to increase space around an entrapped neural structure, relieving pressure to restore optimal function and reduce foot and ankle pain. Nervous tissue is sensitive and must be mobilized gently. When done correctly, manual nerve mobilization can enhance the outcomes of traditional therapies by helping entrapped nerves function freely.

Combining Exercise with Manual Therapy

Traditional therapy for CAI includes strengthening and balance exercises, along with proprioceptive training. A 2016 study by Plaza-Manzano et al. sought to test the efficacy of manual nerve mobilization treatment when added to conventional therapies.

Fifty-six physically active subjects with CAI were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group of 28 subjects received a progressive balance program and a progressive strengthening program of the ankle evertors over the course of four weeks. The second group of 28 received the same balance and strengthening programs, but also received manual therapy consisting of grade 3 joint mobilizations and peroneal nerve mobilizations.

Subjects were assessed before and at the end of the four week intervention, and again after one month of treatment. A battery of assessment instruments was used to assess pain, ankle stability, joint range of motion and strength. While both groups improved in all assessment categories, the researchers observed greater improvement in the group who received manual therapy.

The results of this study make a compelling case for the inclusion of manual peroneal nerve mobilization therapy in rehab protocols in the treatment of ankle pain caused by CAI. Combined with therapeutic strengthening and balance exercises, manual nerve mobilization can be a powerful tool to improve ankle stability and relieve foot and ankle pain.

The Relationship Between Core Stability and Knee Injury Risk in Female Athletes

Athletic injuries seem to be occupying news headlines with increasing frequency of late, as concern rises about the dangers of various sports. This concern has also prompted a great deal of research in an attempt to identify underlying problems that may predispose some athletes to injury. From that research, significant findings have emerged about the […]

Read More (0)

November 4, 2017

Physical Therapy vs Surgery for ACL Injuries

Damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a common sports injury that can be debilitating and in some cases career-ending for athletes. The ACL is a major knee ligament that connects the femur to the tibia. Risk for ACL injury is higher for some sports than for others. ACL ruptures are most common in […]

Read More (0)

November 20, 2017

130 West 42 Street, Suite 1055, New York, NY 10036
130 west 42 street, suite 1055 New York, NY 10036

Contact Us

You can call
or Send message