Ankle instability and Roller Derby
Roller Derby is one of those sports like rugby and hockey where I think you must be slightly insane to want to play. A lot of people struggle with basic ankle balancing exercises let alone adding wheels to your feet and skating. Our aims are to give you some exercises you can do to make those ankles bullet proof and prevent ankle injuries. We obviously can’t help with the nature of your sport such as when you are skating at great speeds and people are slamming into you or someone happens to fall on your ankle. However, we will be able to help with preventing the severity of ankle injuries sustained in your sport.
Sprained and broken ankles are very common in roller derby due to the nature of the sport such as twisting and excessive turning of the ankle joint itself whilst traveling on wheels at great speeds (Parnavels 2013).
We are going to look at typical sprains…
Inversion sprains (normally outside of the ankle pain)
- Anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL)- reported to be the weakest and likely to be the first ligament to be injured
- Calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) and posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL) likely to follow injury of ATFL
Eversion sprain (normally inside ankle pain)
This is less common in many sports. This sprain is the opposite of an inversion sprain and it is where you land on the inside of your foot. This is less common due to the strength of the deltoid ligament on the inside of your foot compared to the lateral(outside) ligaments, which are injured in inversion sprains.
Risks of skating and injury…
1) Take a look at this video below I am not trying to put you off skating I am trying to show you the risks of your sport and the importance of making those ankle strong and maintaining this.
Now do you understand what I mean?
2)Lack of conditioning or weakness in the ankle itself increases risks of ankle injury (Parnavels 2013).
3)Full contact means higher risk of falling which means higher risk of injury
4)You as skaters will be stopping the opposing jammer from passing you and will also be helping out your jammer so a lot of pushing and shoving will be occurring increasing your risk of falling increasing your risk of ankle injury
5)Roller Derby is a very fast game which means you need to be physically fit to ensure tiredness does not cause bad form and loss of control which could affect stability of your ankle
Management of ankle injuries:
This is dependent on severity of ankle injury. If an ankle injury is severe it is advised that an x-ray is needed to ensure an ankle fracture is not present. An example of an acute ankle sprain management is rest, ice, compression, elevation for the first 72hours then to ensure you then undergo a functional rehabilitation programme.
A study by McKay et al showed that 55% of individuals who suffered an ankle sprain and then didn’t seek further treatment for the ankle had a decreased chance of the ankle ligaments healing properly. Rehabilitation is essential for successful healing of the ankle, ensuring that the newly placed collagen fibres are stressed and forces applied within the ankle, to allow correct alignment of the collagen for a healthy ankle (Hubbard et al). If ligaments are not fully healed they could still be in the elongated state, causing increase in joint movement, which means increased chance of instability of the ankle then increased chance of re-injury.
Ensure skating practice includes injury avoidance techqniues such as falling correctly and also following a strength and conditioning approach to ensure you are strong and fit to take the heavy shoulder and hip knocks throughout a game. Practice sessions should involve elements of scrimmage activity, basic skills, strength, endurance and also SAFETY!
Our ankles need to be prehabbed to ensure we avoid ankle injury at all costs. Yes prehabbed I’m not talking about rehab. Prehab basically prepares your ankle for the intensity of your sport.
These prehab exercises can be done as a warm up before getting your skates on or even just in the comfort of your own home. You are transferring power from your core to your ankles to get power to your skates, if there is a weakness in let’s say your ankles then this can affect your performance and increase risks of injury.
- Improve ankle strength
- Improve ankle mobility
- Improve ankle stability
- Decrease ankle injury occurrence
- Improve overall skating strength and movement
Enjoy ladies and let’s get you those bullet proof ankles!
Thank you for reading
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST