Massage Therapy and Ankle Sprains

foot massage

Massage Therapy and Ankle Sprains

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. Massage therapists are uniquely suited to incorporate a number sensory-targeted rehabilitation strategies for patient with chronic ankle instability.

The most effective approach is a multi-modal rehabilitation strategy utilizing exercise (proprioceptive and strengthening) and manual therapy (plantar massage, joint mobilizations and neural mobilization) to enhance motor control in patients (Doherty et al. 2017Plaza-Manzano et al.  2016).

Why Does Massage Therapy Work for Ankle Sprains?

The biopsychosocial model provides a practical framework for investigating the complex interplay between massage therapy and clinical outcomes. Which helps put into context the interconnected and multidirectional interaction between: physiology, thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs.

An observed favorable outcome may be explained by a number of overlapping mechanism in the periphery, spinal cord, and brain represented in the image below.

 A contemporary framework for investigating  the complex interplay between massage therapy and clinical outcomes .

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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