In the last quarter of Superbowl XLVIII, Richard Sherman suffered a high ankle injury and left the game. He sustained an injury to the same ankle earlier in the game. Although Sherman didn’t return to the game, the Seahawks took the Superbowl in 43-8 win. After the game, Sherman was on crutches and wearing a boot. Unless medical intervention is necessary, recovery and physical therapy will take between 6 and 12 weeks.
Athletes participating in sports with lateral movement (such as football) are at high risk for ankle injuries. About half of ankle sprains happen during athletics. Damage to the bones, ligaments or tendons determine the nature and severity of the injury. Sprains, strains and fractures are treated with rest, immobilization and physical therapy while some fractures require surgery.
After a minor sprain, stabilize the ankle with a hiking boot or high-top shoe before walking on it. Do the following range-of-motion stretches before and after exercise to keep the tissue flexible:
Flex and Point – Flex and point the foot stretch the ankle and surrounding areas.
Foot Grab – Place small objects (like marbles or pencils) and use the toes to pick them up. Practice moving them from one spot to another.
Ankle Circles – In a seated position, rotate the foot in a complete circle clockwise. Repeat counter-clockwise.
Calf Raises – While standing, lift the heels until you’re balanced on your tip-toes. For a greater stretch, do this exercise on the stairs and let the heels fall below the step. Use the wall or railing for balance.
Prevention is the key to avoiding ankle injuries. Wear sport-appropriate footwear and replace them when traction and padding break down. Warm up prior to exercise. Cross training and balance retraining are the best ways to condition the muscles for a variety of activities. The experienced physical therapists at Cross Bay Physical Therapy in Howard Beach can put together and strengthening and stretching program to keep you on your toes and injury-free.
By Benjamin Bieber