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. 2017, Plaza-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
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
- Adductor Hallucis
- Flexor Hallucis Brevis
- Tibialis Anterior
- Metatarsals & Interossei
- Tibialis Posterior
- Triceps Surae
More to Explore
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Kalichman, L., Lachman, H., & Freilich, N. (2016). Long-term impact of ankle sprains on postural control and fascial densification.
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