Guide to Preventing Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains can strike at any time. One of the most common musculoskeletal injuries, ankle sprains are commonly thought of as “sports injuries.” However, they can just as easily occur after misjudging a stair or curb, or slipping on a hidden patch of Pennsylvania winter ice.
Although they’re common, ankle sprains can have significant short and long term repercussions. In the present, they keep you from enjoying daily activities. Over a longer timeframe, a sprain that doesn’t heal properly can mean chronic aching, arthritis, and lack of balance.
If you’ve ever had a sprain before, you know how frustrating they can be. Here are some tips to help you prevent them:
- Balance training. Balance is a skill that improves with practice, and better balance allows your body to better control its own motion and correct course before a sprain can occur. Taking a few minutes each day to practice will help you build that skill — try standing on one foot while you brush your teeth, for example.
- Stretching. Tight, inflexible muscles and tendons that don’t have a lot of elasticity don’t have to be pushed very far to generate an injury. Calf stretches and range-of-motion exercises, such as ankle circles or calf raises, can help.
- Strength training. When muscles surrounding the ankle are weakened, they have trouble supporting and protecting the joint from injury. Resistance exercises can be especially helpful for building strength. If you don’t have a resistance band, try wrapping a towel around your foot and pull back on it to provide resistance while you move your foot up and down, left and right.
- Taping or bracing. In certain cases, we may recommend that you wear athletic tape or an ankle brace to support a weak joint during periods of activity.
- Preparing yourself for activity. We mean this in two ways. In the short term, this means you should always warm up before activity and cool down afterward. Over the longer term, though, it means you should always transition to new sports (or higher intensity and competitive levels in your current sport) gradually. Your body needs time to adjust to unfamiliar stresses.
Like any other injury, ankle sprains need prompt treatment in order for you to ensure the fastest healing and lower your risk of long-term complications. If you sprain your ankle, get off your feet and place a call to Premier Podiatry Group in Ebensburg, PA. Our specialists are runners and sports enthusiasts themselves and understand your need for activity! You can reach us at (814) 472-2660.