Ankle sprains are common injuries that can occur in a variety of settings. They often happen when an ankle is twisted or turned in an awkward direction. While many think ankle sprains are just a minor annoyance, they can be pretty serious.
For example, Chronic Lateral Ankle Instability (CLAS) is a condition that can develop after multiple ankle sprains. This condition weakens the ligaments that support the ankle and can cause long-term pain and instability.
There are things you may do to help prevent ankle sprains:
1) Wear Shoes That Fit Well and Have Good Support
One of the primary reasons for ankle sprains is wearing shoes that don’t fit well or provide adequate support. This is especially true for athletes who constantly stress their ankles during practices and games.
Make sure to measure your feet regularly and buy shoes that fit snugly around the feet without being too tight. You should also get shoes with good arch support and cushioning to absorb any impact.
2) Stretch Before You Play Or Work Out
It is crucial to warm up your muscles and tendons before participating in any physical activity. Static stretches, done without moving your body, are a great way to do this. To stretch your ankles, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes forward. Gently pull back on your toes until you feel a stretch in your calf and ankle. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
3) Build Up Ankle Strength
You can work to build up strength in your ankles in several ways. This includes:
- Ankle raises: Use a gym or bodyweight machine to raise and lower your heels slowly.
- Calf raises: Similar to ankle raises, calf raises work the muscles in your lower leg.
- Balance exercises: Activities like tai chi, Pilates, and yoga can help improve your balance and proprioception (joint position sense). This can, in turn, help prevent ankle sprains.
- Resistance bands: Use light resistance bands around your ankles to add resistance to calf raises, ankle raises, and other exercises.
4) Improve Your Balance
As we get older, our balance usually starts to decline. This can put us at greater risk for falls and ankle sprains. Some ways to help improve your balance include:
- practicing standing on one leg
- doing balance exercises like yoga or Pilates
- using a stability ball
- wearing supportive shoes
5) Prepare High-Risk Activities
Certain activities put us at a higher risk for ankle sprains, such as:
- playing sports like football or basketball
- running on uneven surfaces
- walking in high heels
It is essential to prepare and warm up before engaging in these activities. A good warm-up will help increase blood flow to the muscles and joints, making them more flexible and less likely to be injured.
For example, if you want to go dancing, do some ankle circles and point your toes in all directions before hitting the dance floor. This simple stretching routine will help reduce your risk of injury.
A sprained ankle is a widespread injury, especially among athletes. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments supporting the ankle are stretched or torn. Advanced Foot & Ankle Institute of Georgia offers the best treatments for a sprained ankle in Marietta. Our expert podiatrists will get you back on your feet in no time.