Train Proprioception to Prevent Sprains
Hi, I hear from my personal trainer that i need to train my proprioception because of my ankle sprains. What is proprioception and how is it relevant to my ankle problem? - John Koh
What is Proprioception?
Proprioception is the ability to sense the movements and position of our body without looking at it. There are receptors in our ligaments that receives and transmit these spatial information to our brain to process the appropriate reactions.
How it works is that there are nerves in our muscles and ligaments which sense the tension of these structures. These nerve receptors receive the information and transmit them to the brain, cueing it to contract or relax the necessary muscles to prevent your joint from going into an awkward position. These activities are done in spilt seconds, just like a reflex.
Ankle sprains with injury to structures like ligaments and muscles can cause deficit to the proprioception system because the receptors are also damaged from the sprain. With poor proprioception, inability to react or coordinate movements in time especially during sports can lead to a recurrent sprain.
Prevent a sprain
To prevent that from happening, your muscles have to learn when and how fast to contract before an injury happens. Therefore it is important to do exercises targeting on proprioception.
Balancing and agility drills are very good form of training to perform better in your sports and of course to prevent another sprain.