ankle sprains

Ankle sprains are an everyday occurrence in basketball at every level, from NBA to casual recreational players, and every position, be it point guards or center big men. Most of us have had one, and most people sit out for a few weeks or ‘shake it off’. However most of us know THAT ‘guy’ who rolls his ankle every time he plays or wears so much bracing he’s basically wearing weights.

This is because ankle sprains have a bigger effect than just having inflammation and soreness in the joint, but also impact our proprioception. Proprioception is an integral part of our balance sense, and allows our reflexes to kick in before we sprain our ankles. It essentially is your awareness of your body within space, and lets you know that your hand is behind your back without physically looking at it.

Recently a number of studies have found that proprioceptive training can help reduce the recurrence of ankle sprains, but also prevent them from occurring in the first place.

One study mentions that a “proprioceptive training program for athletes reduces the risk of ankle sprain in the following year, particularly for those who do not seek other treatment”. Another paper concluded, “improvements in proprioceptive control in single stance may be a key factor for an effective reduction in ankle sprains, knee sprains, and low back pain”.

Chiropractors aim to treat not only the mechanical side of ankle sprains, like inflammation and scar tissue, but also address the neurological side of proprioception. Researchers have found that chiropractic adjustments can influence proprioception, and help improve this joint position sense.

Correcting both the biomechanical and neurological components of ankle injuries will help get you back on the court faster, and reduce the risk of developing unstable ankles. A simple method of improving your proprioception is single leg standing, or if you have access to a wobble board try standing first with both feet on the board until you are stable enough to progress to single leg standing on a wobble board.

Ankle Sprains

Chiropractor Richard Kan demonstrating one leg standing on a wobble board!

Please call your Chiropractor at AHS on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.


Lin, C. 2009, ‘Proprioceptive training reduces the risk of ankle sprain recurrence in athletes’, Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, vol.55, no.4, pp.283

Riva, D., Bianchi, R., Rocca, F., Mamo, C. 2016, ‘Proprioceptive Training and Injury Prevention in a Professional Men’s Basketball Team: A Six-Year Prospective Study’, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol.30, no.2, pp.461-475

Haavik, H., Murphy, B. 2010, ‘Subclinical neck pain and the effects of cervical manipulation on elbow joint position sense’, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, vol.34, no.2, pp.88-97

Image Credit: Eric T –