Ankles, Feet, Physiotherapy, Sports

Ankle Sprains – Putting your Best Foot Forward

 

Musts following any ankle sprain.

Ankle sprains are very common among young and old  alike.  There are many different types and vary depending on the type and severity of the mechanism of injury. Most commonly ankleswollen-ankle sprains occur when we roll our foot inwards, stressing the ligaments that attach from the bone in our leg to the bone in our foot.  They are usually characterised by immediate swelling, pain and reduced range of movement.

After an ankle sprain, it is important to begin on the road to recovery as soon as possible and you can get started by using these simple tips.

RICER Tryptich

Rest – give the structures in your ankle time to heal and minimise the amount that you aggravate the injury.

Ice – place ice, a cold pack or frozen peas over the injured area for 20minutes every 2 hours for the first 72 hours to minimise swelling and reduce pain.

Compression – make use of an elastic bandage or compression sock to apply light compression to the area to reduce swelling.

Elevation – try to keep your ankle elevated with a foot stool when sitting and propping on pillows when lying down or sleeping.

Range of Motion – move your foot and ankle through light and pain-free movements to keep the blood flowing and prevent stiffening of the joint.

Support – if a crutch or stick is required because you cannot weight bear, use it correctly as shown in the video clip below and try to continue your walking pattern as similar to pre-injury as possible.

Always hold the support on the opposite side to the injury, put injured leg forward first accompanied by the support – this will provide you with a wider and more stable base of support.

 


Referral – book in to see your physiotherapist ASAP for treatment, further advice and redirection of care as an X-ray, MRI or specialist appointment may be necessary.

These tips are just some of the steps required immediately after a sprain to allow a return to full functional capacity.  Physiotherapists have a much broader range of tools and strategies at their disposal and their consultation could prevent long-term issues and promote faster recovery.

Post by Mitchell Sandvoss (B. Physiotherapy)

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Lifestyle, Physio's Personal Tips, Physiotherapy, Stability, Work

Avoiding a Pain in the Neck

The link between neck pain and technology use.

laptop-postureNeck pain is becoming more prevalent in recent times and much of it is linked to the poor postures we adopt when using technology.

On average, we spend 15 hours a week in front of a screen (almost 1 month of the year), and up to 50 hours a week if it is required for work. When using technology, our eyes need to be in an optimal position to focus on the screen. For most of us, it is easiest to poke our chin out to get closer to the screen.

For each inch that your head sits forward of its normal position, the head adds 4.5kg of force onto the small and fragile structures within your neck.  All of this added pressure can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain and headaches from the muscles in your neck having to work harder and the added pressure placed on the discs, nerves and vertebrae.

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If you are someone who spends a lot of your hours in front of the screen, behind the wheel or on the couch, there are some strategies that you can adopt to ease the pressure on your poor neck!

Activation of your Deep Neck Flexors

Your deep neck flexors are muscles in front of the spine responsible for neck stability (similar to the role of the deep abdominals in your lumbar spine) and supporting the head directly over the spine.  When your neck is over your spine, the pressure on other parts of your neck and body will be reduced.

Activating them can be difficult if you are doing so for the first time, so follow these simple steps:

Step 1 – Lie down on your back with a pillow underneath your head and neck, legs bent up and muscles relaxed.

Feeling Neck FlexorsStep 2 – Tuck your chin in so it feels as though it is lightly blocking your windpipe and push the back of your skull into the pillow.  Do NOT activate the muscles at the front of your neck.  Place your fingers on these muscles if necessary to stop them from activating.

Step 3 – Hold this position for 5 seconds before relaxing.  Repeat 10 times before having a rest, then complete 1-4 more sets of 10 until fatigued.

Chin Retraction

Chin Retraction – make a double chin, hold for 5 secs, then relax

Constant awareness of your neck position

When in the car, use the head rest and tuck your chin in.  When at your desk or when using technology, make sure you are not protruding your chin to see the screen.  And, when you are sitting on the couch make sure your head is in a good position and is supported appropriately.

Set up your environment correctly

Move the items in your environment (screen, mouse, keyboard, chair) so that you can maintain a good posture and still work efficiently.   Laptops and tablets force poor posture as looking down at the screen and typing so close prevents good posture. Purchasing a wireless keyboard to use with your tablet to separate hands and screen, increase the font size on your smartphone, correct the angle of your screen on your laptop and position pillows properly when sitting on the couch to provide low back support..

Ergonomics1

Take regular breaks

Increasing the amount of time that the structures in your neck are under pressure will increase the likelihood of developing pain.  Scheduling regular breaks will allow your neck to have a rest and to relieve the strain.

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If you do suffer from neck pain due to poor posture, these strategies will help you.  Poor posture, however, is not the only cause of neck pain and if pain persists we do recommend consulting your physiotherapist for a full assessment.

Post by Mitchell Sandvoss (B. Physiotherapy)