Common Injuries in Badminton – The Ankle Sprain

A Sports Rehab Approach to Ankle Ligament Injury Treatment

Occurring in activities ranging from jogging to basketball to skateboarding to dance, sprained ankles are one of the most common sports injuries, especially in badminton. Depending on the activity and the severity of the injury, an ankle ligament injury can keep an athlete out of their sport for anywhere from a week to half a year. A properly planned sports injury rehab program will enable a quicker recovery and prevent the ankle injury from becoming chronic.

What Happens in a Severe Ankle Sprain?

The ankle is a delicate joint made up of many small bones and ligaments. Since it supports the whole body, the ankle is particularly prone to sports injuries like ligament tears. Ligaments are less elastic than muscle, so when the ankle is put under stress, such as when it rolls after stepping on a rock, the ligaments can tear and result in a sprain. Ankle sprains are split into three severity levels:

Ankle Sprain Severity LevelLigaments Impact
1st-degree ankle sprain minor stretching of ligament(s)
2nd-degree ankle sprain more severe stretching
3rd-degree ankle sprain a complete tear of the ligament(s)
Ankle sprain in badminton

Maintaining Range of Motion After a Severe Ankle Sprain

One of the keys to effective sports injury rehab after an ankle sprain is maintaining range of motion. Non-elastic scar tissue will form quickly at the injury site and if flexibility is not promoted immediately through a proper sports injury rehabilitation program, one risks permanent reduction in the ankle’s range of motion. A popular exercise used by sports injury specialists to maintain range of motion is to spell each letter of the alphabet as large as possible with the foot.

Ankle Exercises for Sports Rehabilitation

Any effective approach to sports injury rehab following an ankle ligament injury will involve a routine of ankle exercises to strengthen all of the muscles surrounding the joint. One easy way to accomplish this is to use a three-foot loop of surgical tubing attached to a table leg as a resistance band. By putting the toes through the loop and pulling against the band with the ankle, the tubing band will enable exercising and strengthening the ankle in every direction.

Balance is a Vital Part of Ankle Ligament Injury Treatment

Because severe ankle sprains result in a loss of strength in the ankle’s stabilizing muscles, balance training is an extremely important part of sports rehab for ankle sprains. The best method of balance training involves using a wobble board such as those found at most physiotherapy clinics. In a pinch, a wobble board can be improvised by a piece of plywood (about 18” X 18”) placed on top of a ball that has been mostly deflated.

Ankle Braces – Essential During Sports Rehab for Severe Ankle Sprains

During a sports injury rehab program for a severely sprained ankle, supporting the injured ankle with a specialized ankle brace is imperative. An ankle brace designed for sport rehabilitation will allow some motion of the ankle and can be adjusted to limit lateral movement, depending on the stage of recovery. There are many types of ankle braces available, ask a sports injury specialist. Some ankle braces lace up, some use Velcro straps for support, some use plastic or carbon fiber ribs.

badminton ankle brace

Effective Use of an Ankle Brace

For maximum effectiveness, the ankle brace should not be used during controlled ankle exercises, such as with the tubing or wobble board, but should definitely be worn when returning to sports. This way, the ankle will gain maximum benefit from the predictable motions of the flexibility and strengthening exercises, but will not be re-injured by unexpected twists during other activities. Do not become dependent on the ankle brace though. As the ankle strengthens, slowly phase out the use of the ankle brace.

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