Ankle injuries can take you off the court, field, or track for weeks or even months. If you don’t heal correctly, you risk recurrent injuries that limit your progress and potential as an athlete.
At Go Feet in Mays Landing, and Linwood, New Jersey, we see people come in with ankle sprains, strains, and fractures caused during training or competition, which could have been avoided with a few simple steps. Though accidents and injuries will always happen, smart behavior and precautions minimize your risk of ankle injury.
Here’s what we recommend when it comes to preventing ankle injuries during sports.
You’re eager to get to the main event, but a warm-up lets you do so safely. Do dynamic exercises, like light jogging in place, ankle circles, and body weight squats and lunges before you get into the more intense part of your training.
Warming up the joint makes it more pliable and flexible, so it’s ready to handle the rigors of training or competition.
Choose the right shoes for your chosen activity
If you’re a dedicated athlete, you probably have shoes appropriate for your sport. However, be aware if you decide to cross train that you may need different footwear. Running for long distances in basketball shoes, for example, could put your ankles at risk. We can offer shoe recommendations if you need them.
The right shoes are also ones that are in good condition, and not worn down or beat up. If you feel your shoes are losing support or cushioning, it’s probably time for a new pair.
Strengthen the muscles around the ankle
Remember, you ask your ankle to bear the weight of your body during activity. If the surrounding muscles are weak, the joint may give out. Specific exercises, like heel raises and band work, strengthen the muscles around the ankle to give you extra support for your active body.
We can teach you the appropriate exercises when you come into one of the Go Feet offices and give you a schedule of when to perform those exercises to get the best benefit. Some simple exercises to start with include drawing circles with your ankles in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions and tracing the letters of the alphabet in the air with your foot.
Ask about taping and bracing
If you’ve been told you have weak ankles or have experienced ankle injuries in the past, you could benefit from using athletic tape or a brace to support the joint. Talk to your sports medicine provider at Go Feet about the best option and taping technique.
Be aware of your terrain
If you’re a trail runner, for example, you’re going to face tree stumps and roots that could trip you up and lead to an ankle injury. This goes for other sports as well. Stay focused as you train to avoid injury.
Be mindful of your body’s warning signs
If you feel a tweak or a sudden achiness in your ankle, it’s a sign from your body that something might be wrong. Modify your activity, or rest until the pain subsides. Continuing to play or practice through pain is likely going to lead to a worse injury that keeps you out of your sport for weeks rather than days.
You can’t prevent all injuries, but when you proactively protect your ankles, you certainly reduce your risk. If you should have ankle pain or suffer injury, don’t hesitate to call Go Feet, or use the online tool to schedule an appointment.