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Here is what one athletic training student experienced while rehabilitating an athlete's injury:

One of the most memorable rehabilitation programs I implemented was for a football player with a syndesmotic ankle sprain. The injury occurred during a preseason scrimmage and resulted in mild ecchymosis and edema to the athlete's ankle. Although it seemed that the athlete would heal quickly, he struggled to regain his strength and proprioception throughout the next week of rehabilitation. We worked together to prepare him for a scrimmage the following week, but he was not ready, which was discouraging for both of us. We did not give up though, and throughout the next week he worked even harder to regain the strength he had lost. Finally, he was able to play in the first game of the season. He was thankful for everything I had done for him, and I was proud of the effort he put forth. Even when you do everything right, I learned that rehabilitation still takes time. For an athletic trainer, this makes an athlete's return to play even more rewarding. I will always remember this special rehabilitation experience.

Erin Dettwiller, AT, ATC

Dayton Sports Medicine Institute

Dayton Dunbar High School

Dayton, Ohio


learning outcomes

After working through this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Describe seven different goals of rehabilitation and the importance each plays in the overall rehabilitation protocol.

  2. Verbalize indications for performing ankle and foot rehabilitative techniques.

  3. Discuss modifications and progressions that are used during a rehabilitation program for the ankle and foot.

  4. Discuss outcome measures used to identify activity levels and return-to-play guidelines for all ankle and foot injuries.

  5. Explain what modality choice is proper for rehabilitation by using indications and contraindications and the principles and theory related to the physiological response of the intervention.


In the profession of athletic training, you are inevitably exposed to many injuries as a result of athletic or recreational activities. Throughout this chapter, many examples of conditions and injuries are presented, and you are asked to design a rehabilitation program to help these patients recover and resume their active lifestyles. These activities will help you to fine-tune your rehabilitation skills and develop new and beneficial rehabilitation plans. Before you begin a rehabilitation plan, be sure that you completely understand the injury—that is, how it occurred and what body part has been injured. By implementing all the information you have learned in the classroom, you can determine the best exercises and modalities to use in your program.

As you work through the exercises in this chapter, remember the phases of healing (Table 11-1), which describe the inflammatory, proliferation, and maturation responses that occur with ankle and foot injuries.

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