6 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Ankle Sprains During Sports

If you step on another player’s foot after jumping to block a volleyball or you step in a small divot while chasing down a soccer ball, you may feel like there was nothing you could do to prevent an ankle sprain. While some injuries are less preventable than others, there are plenty of things that athletes can do to reduce their risk of an ankle sprain during competition. In today’s blog, we spotlight six ways you can reduce your likelihood of being sidelined by an ankle sprain.

Preventing Ankle Sprains During Athletics

If you want to decrease your chances of spraining your ankle during the upcoming sports season, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Pursue Physical Therapy – Physical therapy is a wonderful rehabilitative technique that can help you overcome a sprained ankle, but it’s not just reserved for injured athletes. You can also pursue physical therapy to make your ankle ligaments and surrounding structures stronger and better able to handle the stress you’ll put on them during athletics. You can connect with a PT or look up some ankle strengthening physical therapy exercises on the web.
  2. Conditioning – Working on your conditioning can also help to reduce your risk of an ankle sprain. When we’re tired or winded, we have a propensity to land harder on our feet when running. When you’re landing harder, it’s easier for your ankle to crumple if you land on an uneven surface. Work on improving your conditioning leading up to and during the season so that fatigue doesn’t increase your risk of a sprain.
  3. Bracing/Taping – Many athletes turn to bracing or taping techniques for a little extra ankle support. You can find a simple ankle brace at many pharmacies or sporting goods stores, or you can connect with the team trainer before a game to have your ankle taped. These techniques can provide some additional support, but they should not be used in place of active treatments that strengthen the underlying ligaments, especially if you have a history of ankle sprains.
  4. Stretching – Take some time to stretch before a practice or game. This will help your muscles and ligaments prepare for the stress you will soon expose them to. Stretching your ankles can help decrease stiffness that can sometimes contribute to ankle sprains.
  5. Right Shoes – Make sure that you have the right footwear for the athletic activity you’ll be pursuing. It may sound obvious, but don’t play soccer in sandals or go hiking in flats. If the shoes you’re wearing aren’t designed for the activities you’ll be performing, they won’t be offering any additional support to your ankles. Plan ahead so that you always have the right shoes for the activities ahead.
  6. Care For Ankle Sprains – If you don’t fully treat an initial ankle sprain, you can significantly raise your risk of subsequent ankle sprains in the future. Don’t try to rush back to athletics before your ankle has fully healed, and when you are ready to rejoin your team, gradually return to your athletic program. If your supportive ankle ligaments remain weakened because you didn’t actively help them recover, it will take less stress for them to sprain in the future. Don’t let a mild sprain turn into a major recurring problem because you overlooked an initial sprain.

For more tips on how you can prevent and treat ankle sprains, or to connect with a foot and ankle specialist to treat a different issue, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (86) 244-8889.

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