Have you ever sprained your ankle and then sprained it again and again?
Before we explain why this happens, we must first explain proprioception.
Close your eyes and raise your right arm above your head. Now raise your left and try to mimic its height and bend, so it is at the same position as your right. Is it balanced? An awareness of the position and movement of the body is called proprioception.
The ligaments, muscles, and joints in your body carry proprioception receptors. When an injury, such as an ankle sprain disrupts these receptors, they can’t provide accurate feedback to the brain. This means your ability to feel where your body is in space is disrupted. To repair this disruption, you must retrain proprioception.
Retraining proprioception requires work to improve balance with a specific focus on the “feel’ of movement. A typical balance program starts with static and slower based movements with progression to dynamic and agility exercises dependent on individuals goals or recreational participation. Yoga and Tai Chi are also excellent exercises for improving balance. Physical therapy after a lower extremity injury works to build up and retrain muscles to their pre-injury or surgery condition and retrain proprioception so you can move with confidence.