Once upon a time, there was a lovely teenage soccer player, called “killer”. She could dribble the soccer ball up the field, pass all the opposing players, take the magnificent shot! One of many games played, BAM, alas, a worthy opponent came from no-where, the girls duelled it out, ending in a free ball. “Killer” took a chance, she went in for the slide tackle to kick the ball to one of her phenomenal teammates. 

Her foot did not make it to the ball, it was stopped, so suddenly by nothing other then a hole… the foot was stopped immediately while killer’s body slid over and past the hole. “crack, snap, pop”, an ankle sprain occurred. 

Killer did know it at the time, but she had ripped the tissues holding the ankle joints together, and her soccer career would forever be changed. 

Yes, it is true, I was the teenager that I speak of; (tire pumping added for glorification).

Back then / still a bit to this day, I was pretty darn stubborn. I was told to take a break, to give my ankle some time to heal and then I would make it back on the field. Did I do this?.. Not, Exactly.

I tried it their way and it was taking too long, I was told I had peaked in my recovery, and nothing more could be done for me. A) This was not the case- Stubborn + Teen + Naive= Needed more of a push to rehabilitate B) Peaked?, No. You may plateau for a bit, but will start to bee improvement after proper alterations are made. 

Nonetheless, My thought process was, if I could walk, run and kick a ball, why couldn’t I play? Whats it going to do? Get a little worse? 

So, I taped’er up and went back out onto the field, sprained it a few more times, on and off the field, but wasn’t willing to stop; which I thought was my only resort. 

After this injury, my ankle was never the same. Coaches told me to try out again after I stopped guarding my ankle. Again, I thought it would come with time.. What did I know other then what my, therapist had told my 15 years old self.

The Injury continued.. Multiple re-occuring sprains, weeks on crutches, a few panicked trips to the hospital thinking, “this time, it MUST be broken”.

It wasn’t until I was in my 3rd year of university when I learnt how to test these ligaments, that I found out what exactly I had done 5 years prior. Then, It wasn’t until my 6th year, (in the Athletic Therapy Program) that I found out that not only had I injured the ligaments, I had completely torn them. As a result of the 3rd degree tears, no ligaments were left to hold the ankle joint together. In my instructors words, “the skin is holding your ankle together”. 

Holding back the tears, I had finally understood by after all these years my ankle was still so messed up. To this day, with strengthening, hiking, biking, stability work and stretching, I have the “flukie” days where my ankle inevitably rolls again, causing my rehab process to start again.

Again, this chronic injury could have been managed long ago when the first or second spin had occurred, 

SILVER-LINING: My injury motivated me to become a better therapist, and aid in prevention of other athletes experiencing this sort of injury history.

Enough about me…. Lets see how this plays out for injuries in general!

One of the first topics we covered in the Athletic Therapy program, was the healing process of tissues:

Once the tissues are torn your first priority is to get the swelling, bruising and pain down.

Next is key:

You must “stress” the tissue so that it will re-align in the proper manner – straight. 

This is done with specific exercises, stretches, mobility work, massage and modalities.

If rehabilitation this step is misses/not followed through properly, the tissue may either bunch up at its ends (happens with a complete tear) OR they may aline in all different directions- not straight (not stable).

If rehabilitation was neglected or missed, a partial tear is still able to be corrected. This takes time, patience and sometimes a high pain tolerance. 

If it was a complete tear, you could be looking at surgical repair of the tissue. (Please consult your physician on your particular injury before jumping to this conclusion). 

The following is a table of results stemming from improper rehabilitation of an injury:

Issue

Description

Consequence Result
Unstable Tissue 
  • New tissue not re-aligned properly
  • Easily ripped again
  • Re-injury
  • Upon re-injury, ripping of more tissue types
Musculature Guarding
  • Muscles get tight to protect the injury
  • Chronically tight
  • Puts pressure on other areas of the body
  • Re-Injury
  • New Injury
  • Chronic Pain/ Tightness
  • Nerve Pain
Compensation  (Posture, Gait, Lifting)
  • Walking with a limp
  • Standing to one side 
  • Lifting with opposing hand more
  • Puts pressure on opposing limbs
  • Causes alignment issues
  • Atrophy of effected side
  • Chronic Pain
  • Re-Injury
  • New Injury
  • Nerve Pain
Surrounding Tissues Neglected
  • Facsial adhesions 
  • Scar tissue
  • Meniscus
  • Vertebrae alignment
  • Easily re-injured
  • Cause injury to other areas
  • Applies pressure to other areas
  • Chronic Pain/ Tightness
  • Re-Injury
  • New Injury
  • Organ Injury/Pain
  • Nerve Pain