Elite and novice netballers have all experienced an ankle injury at some time or another, the most common being the ankle inversion injury, or “rolled ankle”. This type of ankle injury can be debilitating if not correctly treated from day one.
This type of injury affects the ligaments on the outer aspect of the ankle, those that normally stabilise the ankle during dynamic movements. It can occasionally also cause muscle damage, and sometimes fractures of the bony attachment where some ligaments anchor (an avulsion fracture).
An avulsion fracture may be suspected whenever severe pain is experienced with an inability to put weight through the ankle, marked tenderness just above the “bony point” of the ankle as well as considerable swelling.
The ankle inversion injury is the most common lower-limb injury for an athlete to experience and is responsible for a large amount of time spent off the court. It is integral that this type of injury is properly rehabilitated from day one as chronic pain, ankle instability and tendinitis can all result from poor rehabilitation.
The key reasons to have physiotherapy for an ankle inversion injury are:
- To return pain free full range of motion of the ankle during netball
- To rehab the strength and stability of the muscles around the ankle
- Return to the court with confidence and retain previous skill level
- Significantly decrease the chance of a recurrent ankle injury
- Properly rehabilitate the balance and proprioception of the ankle