Summer is here and most of us athletic trainers finally have an off-season with some spare time on our hands. During the season(s) we tend to work such long hours that when it’s time to go home we're exhausted and have little time to do anything but eat and sleep – we deserve a break!
As a proud corporate member of the NATA, June is a big month for us at Ultra Ankle® as we prepare to make our way to the annual NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo. This year three of our certified athletic trainers are making their way to Baltimore to catch up with old friends, meet new friends, and demonstrate to athletic trainers the most effective ankle bracing technology available for their athletes.
At the NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo we will have all three of our Ultra Ankle® brace models available for athletic trainers to evaluate in Booth #3074, but for a limited time we're giving athletic trainers the opportunity to win an Ultra Zoom® ankle brace before the convention begins.
… and then one sprains their ankle. All three athletic trainers present have very strong opinions about their ankle treatment protocols, so a discussion ensues about whose methodology is best. Perhaps you’ve worked with one of these individuals and/or share their philosophies – but when presented with an ankle injury which method do you typically go with?
Even though they aren’t the most common ankle issue, acute ankle injuries tend to be discussed more among athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals since they can be the most damaging to an athlete and their career. But what about the most common, less-discussed ankle issue that is prevalent among today’s athletes both young and old? I’m talking about non-acute mild/moderate ankle instability.
Let’s say an athlete has a brief history of previous ligament injuries to the same ankle and they play a sport with a high incidence of ankle injuries, like basketball or volleyball. One goal as an athletic trainer would be to stop the cycle of ankle injury to prevent more severe problems down the road – but what are the best injury prevention methods for mild/moderate ankle instability?
As athletic trainers we interact with so many people every day from student athletes to our fellow athletic trainers to coaches and administrators, and our job is please all of them. Do these people look up to you? Do they respect you? Do they believe what you tell them? Here are 5 ways to interact with those associates that will produce mutual respect and a positive athletic training room atmosphere.
When I speak to Athletic Trainers about ankle bracing technology I find there is minimal to no education about the subject taught in the curriculum. Understanding the basics of ankle brace design is paramount for choosing the right brace for the specific ankle condition. For example, let’s say you have an athlete with a syndesmotic ankle injury – which would be the best stabilizing option for that condition? a) lace-up brace b) tape c) hinged brace d) hinged-cuff brace
Your player goes down with an ankle injury during the game. You re-tape the ankle but he still has too much weight bearing pain to continue. You try a lace-up but that doesn’t help. Game over for him...or is it?
When an ankle injury occurs during competition all eyes turn to the athletic trainer to assess the severity of the injury and report on when they can safely get the player back in the game. Athletic trainers are expected to act quickly and efficiently under pressure, whether it be from the coach or on a national stage such as professional sporting event, which is why it’s important to correctly diagnose and remedy in-game ankle injuries as they happen.
Syndesmotic ankle injuries are causing athletic trainers all kinds of fits. They take so long to heal and the athlete gets impatient, it’s just not an easy fix...or is it? Here are the two most important things you need to know when treating a high ankle injury:
Compressing the Tibia and Fibula
Every athletic trainer knows the high ankle injury is more severe than low ankle injuries and they take longer to heal. The ankle externally rotates which forces apart the medial and lateral aspects of the mortise, respectively the tibial and fibular malleoli. This movement can stretch or tear the ligaments and membrane that hold the tibia and fibula together. Fixing the high ankle injury involves compressing the tib/fib together which will take stress away from the damaged ligaments allowing them to heal with less pain.
A new study conducted at the University of South Alabama has concluded that wearing a lace-up ankle brace negatively affected ankle joint motion and muscle function by significantly decreasing plantar flexion-dorsiflexion ROM across the velocity spectrum and by significantly decreasing muscle torque, work, and power. These findings are critical in aiding sports medicine professionals recommending ankle bracing to their athletes and patients.
In celebration of National Athletic Training Month I want to recognize all those athletic trainers that have invented products for the athletic training market. Athletic Trainers are the best product inventors, which was sure true for me. In 1983 as a student athletic trainer I had a product idea that could revolutionize the ankle brace market, (which later became known as the Active Ankle, the first hinged ankle brace) except I had one problem: I had no idea how to make my invention a reality. 31 years, 16 patents, and 2 successful companies later I’d like to share 6 tips I’ve learned along the way in hopes that they can help other Athletic Trainer inventors/entrepeneurs begin to take the steps necessary to turn their inventions into a succesful venture.