Massage Therapy and Ankle Sprains

foot massage

Massage Therapy and Ankle Sprains

Massage therapists are uniquely suited to incorporate a number sensory-targeted rehabilitation strategies for patient with chronic ankle instability (Mckeon et al. 2016) . Following an initial ankle injury there is a risk of re-injury dependent on a combination of factors including, but not limited to: sensorimotor deficits and changes in ankle biomechanics.

A multi-modal rehabilitation approach utilizing exercise (proprioceptive and strengthening) and manual therapy (plantar massage, joint mobilizations and nerve mobilization) to enhance motor control in patients (Doherty et al. 2017Plaza-Manzano et al.  2016).

Why Does Massage Therapy Work for Ankle Sprains?

A biopsychosocial framework helps put into context the interconnected and multidirectional interaction between: physiology, thoughts, emotions, behaviors, culture, and beliefs. In terms of clinical responses to massage therapy there are a couple of proposed mechanisms of action, including but not limited to: neurodynamics, contextually aided recovery, neuromodulation, social grooming and mechanotherapy.

Structures to be Aware of When Treating Ankle Sprains

nerves of the foot

A massage therapy treatment plan should be implemented based on patient-specific assessment findings and patient tolerance. Structures to keep in mind while assessing and treating patients suffering from ankle pain may include neurovascular structures and investing fascia of:

  • Plantar Fascia

  • Lumbricals

  • Adductor Hallucis

  • Flexor Hallucis Brevis

  • Tibialis Anterior

  • Metatarsals & Interossei

  • Peroneals

  • Tibialis Posterior

  • Triceps Surae

More to Explore

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McKeon, P.O., Hertel, J., Bramble, D., Davis, I. (2015). The foot core system: a new paradigm for understanding intrinsic foot muscle function. Br J Sports Med.

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