4 Steps to Fix A Bad Ankle and the UM Basketball Camp

4 Steps to Fix A Bad Ankle and the UM Basketball Camp

I’m looking over some player paperwork from our 5th year as the on-site chiropractic team at Jim Larrañaga’s Fantasy Basketball Camp at the University of Miami and not surprisingly, we tend to see the same injuries over and over.

Low backs, hamstrings, pulled groin muscles, general neck pain, and the topic of our bloggity blog, today, “I have a bad ankle.”

I like treating these orthopedic injuries because there is usually a predictable, traceable pattern of wear and tear that brings a patient into our consultation, albeit this time, court-side at the University of Miami.

Decompression, alignment and stabilization at The University of Miami Basketball Camp

Drs. Rayna, Sala and Doman: Decompression, alignment and stabilization at The University of Miami Basketball Camp

The biomechanics of the body are similar to the mechanics of a car:

Predictable patterns of blowing a tire here, assessing shock absorber systems, fuel quality, brakes, improving alignment, etc.  The inter-dependent inner-workings of a sports car are quite similar to the vroom vroom coordination of your joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and other physiological circuitry of the body.  VERY similar concepts, different language.

That being said – you have no bad body parts.

You have: previously injured body parts.  Never given a chance to work correctly body parts.  Needs extra daily TLC-to-work-well body parts.   Had surgery and isn’t functioning like you’re 12-years-old body parts.   But no bad body parts.

“I have a bad ankle” is a particularly interesting one to fix, because IF you injure it badly enough, usually in the form of a bad-ass mama jama sprain, the greatest and most annoying concern for a patient is to roll it again.  And again.  And again and again.  Bad ankle!

An ankle can be injured in many ways:  stopping and pivoting, sprinting down a field and looking up to catch a ball, not seeing a sidewalk curb, tripping over your kid’s toy, or falling off your stiletto heels.  You get the picture.

You might be interested to learn that with a big bad ankle sprain, or many little sprains over time, the supporting ligaments of the ankle take the biggest toll.  Now, I want you to reach down and touch your ankle.  You’ll notice that there’s not too much meat down there.  In fact, you might notice that it’s mostly bone with a few little ropey-feeling things on top.

Those ropey-feeling things are ligaments.  Ligaments link bone to bone.  The unfortunate thing about ligaments is that unlike, elastic and stretchy muscle, if ligaments are overstretched, they don’t rebound and regain their tightness and integrity.   Think:  stretching out a piece of salt water taffy.   So after a bad ankle sprain you might have loose or looser ligaments around your ankle forever (boo).

The good news!  You do have an internal balancing system – in fancy medical terms called, proprioception, that will do its BEST to re-teach your ankle where to land and when.

Why is proprioception so important to avoid rolling your ankle? 

Balance comes from three main areas of your body:  your vision, your inner ear, and your joint proprioceptors.  Proprioceptors are like a GPS system for the body.  What starts to disappear as we get older?  Vision and hearing.  What can you work to improve as we get older?  Your joint proprioceptors.

Thank the LAWD we have proprioceptors all over our body just waiting to be reactivated and to give feedback to the brain – and prevent that next ankle roll!

Note: Don’t hesitate to get an xray if the roll is bad enough:  we’re talking monstrously swollen, purple and no chance of walking any time soon.   It could be a fracture or tear!

Courtside acupuncture for pain relief. Not too shabby.

Courtside acupuncture for pain relief. Not too shabby.

From the basketball court to the comfort of your home – 4 Steps to Fix A Bad Ankle

  1. R.I.C.E to make nice:  No explanation needed here if you’ve ever hurt something before. Rest, ice, compression, and elevate.
  2. Shorten healing timeline:  Graston, Kineseotaping/Rock tape, acupuncture, cold laser, physical therapy modalities…I love these natural tools for keeping the swelling down and getting your ankle back on the right track towards recovery.
  3. Get your sacrum/pelvic alignment checked by a chiropractor:  If your spine and joint alignment is off, you WILL keep blowing the same tire, in this case, your ‘bad’ ankle. No point in just patching up the tire, in this case your ankle, if it’s poor joint alignment that is causing the problem in the first place.  Can’t stress this strongly enough.  Just a couple of visits depending on how long you’ve been nursing the ankle.
  4. Improve your ankle GPS:  balance exercises.  Yoga is my favorite. I can’t think of a better activity that incorporates balance exercises with visual challenges in most of the sessions.  Highly highly highly recommend yoga to get your balance back AND keep it through all sports and decades of your life.

Like what your heard?  Want to work with us 1-1? Let Us Help You!