Proprioception algorithm of sports ankle injuries

Proprioceptionalgorithmofsports ankle injuries

Malliou P., Gioftsidou A.

Dept. of Physical Education and Sport Science


Proprioception is defined as the awareness of posture, movement and changes in equilibrium as well as the knowledge of position, weight, and resistance to objects in relation to the body (Davies, 1989).

During an ankle sprain, the nerve fibers of the mechanoreceptors located at the torn ligament could also be damaged. As a result, proprioceptive inputs from the ankle joint could be reduced (Freeman et al 1965). Thus, proprioception must be part of a complete rehabilitation program (Rozzi, Lephart, Sterner, Kuligowski 1999; Askling, Karlsson, Thorstensson, 2003). Balance exercises aimed at improving proprioception; train the brain to recognize the body's segment position every moment(Sammarco, 1995).

Balanceexercisesmustbeperformedwith progressive difficulty. In ordertoperform balance exercisesrehabilitation specialists proposed the use of specific equipment likebalance boards with air, hard balance boards, balance devices and mini-trampoline (Malliou et al. 2004; Gioftsidou et al 2006).

A rehabilitation training program for ankle sprain must include specific balance exercises. More specific, the first days after the injury, and when the athletes is in non-wait-bearing position, can perform proprioception exercises in a seated position. For example the athlete can perform toe exercises with a tower or can put the injured leg on a balance board and perform mildly motions without pain. Later athletes can perform exercises with the following order (Gioftsidou & Malliou 2006):

Askling,C., J. Karlsson,and A. Thorstensson.Hamstring injury occurrence in elite soccer players after preseason strength training with eccentric overload. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 13(4):244-250. 2003.

Davies C. (1989). Taber´s Cylopedic Medical Dictionary (16th Ed), Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.

Freeman MA, Dean MR, Hanham IW. (1965). The etiology and prevention of functional instability of the foot. J Bone Joint Surg Br., 47, 678–685

Gioftsidou A., Malliou P. (2006). Preventing lower limb injuries in soccer players. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 28(1), 10-13.

Gioftsidou A., Malliou P., Pafis G., Beneka A., Godolias G., Maganaris G. (2006) The effects of soccer training and timing of balance training on balance ability. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 96, 659-664.

Malliou P., Gioftsidou A., Pafis G.,Beneka A., Godolias G. (2004). Proprioceptive training (balance exercises) reduces lower extremity injuries in young soccer players. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation 17, 101-104.

Rozzi, S.L., Lephart, S.M., Sterner, R. and Kuligowski, L. (1999). Balance training for persons with functionally unstable ankles. Journal of Orthopaedic Sports Physical Therapy 29: 478-486.

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