Estimates suggest that 25,000 Americans will sprain their ankle each day, and many people are playing sports or performing athletic movements when they suffer their sprain. It may seem like these injuries are somewhat unpreventable, especially if it happens when you land awkwardly on someone else’s foot when you’re going for a rebound or step on an uneven part of the field when playing soccer, but sprains are more preventable than you may imagine. In today’s blog, we share five tips for preventing ankle sprains during athletic activity,
Avoiding Ankle Sprains During Athletics
Not every ankle sprain is avoidable, but if you follow these five tips, we’re confident that you’ll significantly reduce your risk of suffering an ankle sprain during exercise or athletic activity.
- Stretch/Warm Up – Before you jump into athletic activity, make sure that you take 5-10 minutes to stretch. Warming up prior to activity will ensure that your muscles can safely transition from an inactive to an active state. When muscles in your foot, ankle and calf are more prepared for movement, they’ll be better able to help stabilize and support the foot, which can reduce your risk of a sprain.
- Regular Exercise – Regular exercise is another great way to help strengthen your ligaments and the other structures that help support your ankle. Activities like swimming, cycling and walking are low-impact activities that help to build muscle groups and ensure they are capable of handling all the stress you throw at them when you’re running, jumping and changing directions in athletics.
- Balance Training – You can also step up your game by specifically working to improve your balance. Sprains don’t typically occur as a result of lost balance, but the same muscles and tissues that help to keep you balanced are what support your ankle joint. The stronger they are, the less likely it is they will tear as a result of being stretched during a sprain. Having better balance will also make your ankles less likely to roll as a result of lower level forces on the foot.
- Ankle Bracing – Ankle bracing or taping can provide an extra level of support to your ankles. If you know you will be putting a lot of strain on your ankle, it’s a good idea to consider adding an extra layer of protection and support in the form of a brace. This is especially true if you have a history of ankle sprains in the past.
- Choose The Right Shoes – Finally, make sure that you are wearing the right shoes for the activity. Don’t just wear any old shoes when you’re exercising or playing a sport, make sure that the shoe is designed to support your foot and ankle during those specific activities. Athletic shoes that have a high top may provide some extra support to the ankle area, but find a supportive shoe that is comfortable to you. Just make sure they are designed to support your feet in whatever activities you’ll be doing.
If you do these five things, and you connect with a foot and ankle specialist in the event that you suffer a sprain, we’re confident that you’ll be able to prevent ankle injuries and bounce back faster in the event they do occur. For more information, or for help with your foot or ankle injuries, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today.