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Your first step to recovery

Ankle injuries – Your first step to recovery

Common? Oh Yes!

The ankle is the most commonly injured joint in sport. This does not exclude other people such as active hikers, beach goers and even your average Sunday stroller. Good news though – your ankle injury is highly likely to be uncomplicated.

It is still vital that your ankle is examined, evaluated and treated early. This will ensure a swift return to activity and prevent further complications.

 

The road to recovery

Planning for Resiliency and the Road to Recovery

Your clinician will ask you some questions related to how you injured your ankle, pain, instability and any past episodes of injury. The earlier you get your ankle checked, the sooner your recovery will begin.

Keeping a mental note of things like initial pain, swelling, ability to walk and balance will go a long way in assisting your clinician to making an accurate diagnosis.

 

Investigations

Ankle x-rays

In most cases, initial X – rays are done to rule out broken bones.

Ultrasounds can be used to diagnose some ligament and tendon damage.

MRI is the best form of imaging but this does come at a higher cost and higher exposure to radiation. These are usually done after failed conservative treatment or in instances where pain remains high for longer periods.

A CT scan is helpful with complicated foot and ankle fractures. It will normally be ordered by a specialist surgeon who is planning for an operation.

 

What to look out for

Ankle sprains:

This is normally a twisting injury that causes a stretch or tear of ligaments surrounding the ankle. Your health care professional will provide you with all the information and tools you need for recovery.

These heal relatively quickly when the outside border of the foot is affected and a little slower when the inside border of the ankle is affected.

You will normally feel pain on certain ankle movements, stiffness in the ankle and experience some swelling and bruising.

Ankle - Wikipedia

 

Ankle Fractures:

These normally present with swelling, bruising and pain initially – although not always. In some cases, it is too painful to put weight on the ankle.

They are usually best confirmed with X – ray and specialist referral.

Management may be surgical or non-surgical depending on the severity and site of the fracture.

Fractures generally take longer to recover compared to sprains.

 

What treatment to expect

Foot and Ankle Doctor | EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region

Acute phase:

Your healthcare professional will normally initiate techniques to minimise your pain and swelling with rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Analgesia and anti – inflammatory medication may also be used.

Strapping may be used for stability at this stage and can be done by your physiotherapist.

You will also be encouraged to increase movement and begin strengthening.

 

Rehabilitation phase:

Balance and proprioceptive exercises will be given to you by your physiotherapist.

Strengthening will continue and running will start soon.

Once running in a linear motion pain free, you will progress to sport specific exercises.

Finally, you will return to sport or previous function such as trekking with a graded program.

Strapping may continue for up to 12 months after your injury in order to prevent re–injury.

 

What can you do on the day of the injury?

Rest by reducing time spent walking or standing. This will help the ankle to heal.

Ice the ankle for up to 20 minutes every couple of hours.

Compress the ankle with a firm bandage during the day and remove the bandage at night.

Elevate the leg.

Attempt circulatory exercises such as ankle circles and foot pumps (About 10 – 30 repetitions every couple of hours).

Contact your health professional or physiotherapist in order to make appointment for assessment.

If you are unable to stand on your leg or have excruciating pain in the ankle, head on to the local emergency department for immediate investigation.

 

Remember, your injury will heal and you will recover!

 

To find your nearest Physio Fusion clinic and book an appointment call 09 6266186 or visit our website https://physiofusion.co.nz

What is your Rotator Cuff and What does it do?

 

You may have seen videos or posts online about people talking about a specific area of your shoulder known commonly as the “Rotator Cuff” and wondered what they were on about. Your shoulders do a lot of important things you might take for granted! They help you get something off a high shelf, comb your hair, or play a game of cricket.

It’s a complicated process that your body makes look easy. And your rotator cuff is a big part of that. It protects and stabilizes your shoulder joint and lets you move your arms over your head. It’s importance is widely used in sports like swimming, tennis and netball.

In New Zealand healthcare, shoulder injuries have one of the highest prevalence when it comes to ACC claims and overall cost. Within this, rotator cuff injuries are among the most common pathologies affecting New Zealanders. Other pathologies include acromioclavicular injuries, dislocations, osteoarthritis and frozen shoulder.

 

So, what exactly is the cuff and how does it influence the shoulder?

  • The rotator cuff (RC) is a combination of four muscles that run through and attach onto specific areas of the humeral head (top of the arm bone).

  • Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres minor and Subscapularis are the four muscles comprising the RC and each one plays an important role however they all contribute to shoulder stability:

Supraspinatus

Infraspinatus

Teres Minor

Subscapularis

A thin triangular muscle that helps perform abduction

A thicker, triangular muscle that performs external rotation.

The smallest muscle of the cuff, helps with rotation as well

The largest muscle of the cuff performs internal rotation (arm behind your back!)

 

 

Many people suffer from shoulder pain, so here are the most common injuries that can happen at the rotator cuff:

Rotator Cuff Tear:

A rotator cuff tear is often the result of high levels of load over a short amount of time or a high impact force stressing one or more of the tendons/muscles. Fortunately, majority of tears are partial. Tears are more common in people with jobs that involve heavy loading or lifting or in high impact sports like rugby. It also can happen suddenly if you fall on your arm or try to lift something heavy. Common and easily treatable with conservative management by a physiotherapist, a rotator cuff tear can come right.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy:

A rotator cuff tendinopathy is the most common shoulder pain complaint/injury resulting in inflammation and irritation of one or more of the cuff tendons. This pathology is more common in individuals who have an occupation where repetitive use of the shoulder, particularly in an overhead position such as carpenters or painters, or individuals that play highly repetitive, throwing sports like tennis, baseball or volleyball. Once again, this injury is treatable by a physiotherapist, conservative management can be very effective in treating these injuries with a thorough, well planned exercise program to help get patients back to doing what they love.

Majority of people experience pain around the shoulder joint, with some movements being highly provocative. Tenderness on touch at the affected site is also common – this helps your physiotherapist hone in on potentially which tendon is causing those problems!

 

Medical management vs Physio management

 

Medical management will be advised by your local GP if you decide to see them first. They might prescribe NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen) to help with the pain you’re experiencing and recommend you see a physiotherapist. Depending on your injury as well as your ability to function, surgery may be an option if conservative medical and physio treatments don’t help. Most people get by without the need of surgery but some tears can be too large to heal without the use of surgical intervention.

Physiotherapy management is designed around reducing pain and disability, restoring range of motion and helping people return to work or sports to perform how they were prior to the injury. In the early stages of these injuries, rest and ice and/or heat are recommended to allow the inflammation to settle – then your physiotherapist will begin to introduce a detailed exercise program, this may include:

  • Isometric (static hold) exercises
  • Resisted movements using bands
  • Range of motion exercises to restore lost movement
  • Functional loading – task specific or sport specific

If this is successful, the last step is to build back up the strength that was lost over time – this is done by concentrically (against gravity) loading the affected tendons/muscles in a way that they adapt and lay down more tissue, grow and becoming stronger in hopes that you get to return to what you enjoy!

 

 

Stay safe, Stay fit

Our daily routine has been forced to change during the lockdown and it has never been more important to focus on your physical and mental health. The current situation we’re facing is strange, stressful, emotionally exhausting and there is no surprise that the motivation to keep fit has been a bit of a struggle. It is in these disquieting times that exercise can provide much-needed solace.

Research shows that being physically active helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Physical activity also maintains mass and bone density, reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis (loss of bone density), Sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass), and helps boost one’s immune system, as it flushes bacteria from the lungs and airways, increases white blood cell circulation and raises body temperature, all of which help the body fight infection.

How much Activity is Recommended?

Be active every day, in as many ways as possible. Aim for at least 2 ½ hours of moderate (or 1 ¼ hours of vigorous physical activity) spread throughout the week. The Ministry of Health outlines how much physical activity New Zealanders need to stay healthy https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/food-activity-and-sleep/physical-activity/how-much-activity-recommended.

Create a Routine

Whether you are looking to maintain an exercise regime or just stay motivated from one day to the next, as your own four walls start to make you feel a bit stir crazy, many people find that it helps to have a set routine. It portions the day into bite-size chunks and allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you tick off the day’s tasks.

Few of us are lucky enough to have an exercise bike/treadmill at home. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple exercises that you can do around the house or with household objects that will work instead. If you do not have your own weights at home there are some surprising substitutes you can utilize instead i.e bags of rice or flour, a tin of beans and bottled water can be used, if you need something heavier you can always fill a carrier bag with a few items inside.

1. Squats

Directions:

Lie on the floor and rest on your back. Ensure that your knees are bent, and your feet are touching the floor.

Put your hands behind your head and then lift both your chest and your legs slightly but leave a gap between them.

Go back to the starting position and repeat.

2. Crunches

Crunches are another important exercise for your abs to strengthen your body core.

Directions:

Widen your feet parallel to your shoulder and extend your arms in front of you.

Bend your knees and your hips slightly and then do the traditional squat position.

Push up using your heels and repeat.

3. Stationary Lunge

Directions:

Stand up straight and put your right leg forwards and your left leg backward. It should look like you’re preparing to run.

Place your hands on your hips. Bend your right leg, leaving a little gap between the floor and the knee.

Then, switch your legs and do the same.

These bodyweight exercises are a great way to start your day and get the blood pumping in your body.

 

Safety during exercise outside

If you’re working from home, getting outside for physical activity will do wonders for your physical and mental health. Regular walking, running or cycling is a great way to stay active and healthy during lockdown, but it is important to keep your distance and stay more than two metres away from others. Plan your route when you’re thinking of heading out for a cycle/jog. If possible try to think of roads, neighborhoods, and parks that will be quieter and less congested. Follow the latest advice about whether you will also need to wear a mask.

Take a Bit of You Time

Fill your own cup first…Being healthy is not just about maintaining an exercise regime and eating right, it is also about staying mentally healthy too. If you are in isolation with your family, it is easy to spend the day making sure they are happy and entertained, but don’t forget to take a bit of time for you. Do a quick meditation or yoga routine while the kids are watching TV or maybe just go into the garden and take a few deep breaths to relieve some stress!

During this time of uncertainty, something we can take control of is our health and well-being. So, whatever your situation, try to keep active, eat healthily, and stay hydrated.

Ngā mihi and stay safe