Case study – skiing ankle injury

This case study looks at recovery from a broken ankle to give you an idea of how recovery happens and the different aspects that play a part.

In 2012 Suzanne broke her ankle skiing. She was in plaster for five weeks and then an ‘aircast’ boot for another 5.

As part of the rehab Suzanne booked in to see Tom and diligently went through all of the rehab, with Tom keeping a close eye on things.

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However in 2013 Suzanne injured the ankle again – not skiing this time though! After a few days on crutches, the ankle was taped up for support and Suzanne was able to start with some gentle movement. A steroid injection helped settle the inflammation.

So far so good right? Well 6 months later there was still some stiffness remaining in the ankle. A combination of massage, acupuncture and stretching helped and resulted in a short-term improvement in symptoms.

The most important thing though were the strengthening exercises – explained by Simon and carried out a few times each week. By performing these (with the right load/weight), Suzanne was able to make more permanent changes to the underlying soft tissue.

The result? The ankle much more stronger and the stiffness loosened off.

A lot of people in rehab will see initial improvements but then plateau. This continued and progressive overload work is something we’ve discussed previously and it’s essential for a full recovery.

In particular it was through progression in Pilates exercises and in this weight-shifting squat  that made the difference for Suzanne.

Timeframe

The initial improvements in rehab often convince people that recovery can be complete in a matter of weeks or months, but the reality is that it can take much longer. In Suzanne’s case it took over a year before the ankle felt ‘normal’ again.

The intrinsic remodelling of soft tissue happens over months and years so you shouldn’t just accept that you’ll always have a problem – it may be that your exercise programme needs progressing and this is something your physio can advise on.

Our case study patient today was none other than our lead Pilates instructor Suzanne Murray – for more information on injury recovery or if you’d like to speak to Suzanne about her experience, just get in touch.

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