Every day, 25,000 people in the United States experience an ankle sprain. This injury can occur because of a twist or change in direction in sports, but plenty of non-athletes experience ankle sprains too when they take a misstep off a curb or trip over a rock on a casual hike.
A sprain means you stretched or tore the ligaments at the ankle joint. At Go Feet, the team of expert podiatrists see a lot of ankle sprains — many of which could have been prevented. Here’s what they want you to know, so you can protect your ankle from injury.
Choose shoes wisely
You may love the fashionable look of high heels, but know these shoes put you at a high risk for a number of ankle problems, including sprains. The elevation in the heel puts your foot and ankle into an unnatural position, making you incredibly unstable and prone to losing balance.
High heels aren’t the only footwear of which you need to be wary, however. Loose-fitting sandals, flip flops, and slides can make you unstable, so a trip is far more likely. Old shoes or ones all wrong for your sport of choice can also contribute to an ankle injury.
When you choose shoes, opt for ones that have a snug fit, and if necessary, use a custom orthotic to prevent any dysfunction. If you need shoe recommendations, consult the staff at Go Feet for your particular activity needs.
Stretch your ankle
An important tendon at your ankle, the Achilles tendon, has the tendency to tighten up when neglected. This connective tissue attaches your calf to your heel bone. When it becomes resistant, you may experience pain and dysfunction. A tender Achilles compromises your ankle strength and puts you at risk of a sprain.
Stretch the Achilles by standing on a step with your heel hanging off the back side. Slowly lower your heel downward until you feel a slight pulling sensation in the back of your ankle and your calf. The doctors at Go Feet are ready to offer other appropriate stretches to keep your ankle supple.
Strengthen the joint
Your ankle bears a lot of weight, but often doesn’t get the benefit of targeted strengthening. To keep your ankle performing at its best, move your ankles through a series of exercises to increase their resiliency and range of motion.
At Go Feet, we recommend the ABCs – an easy movement you can do just about anywhere. While sitting in a chair or leaning against a wall, lift one foot up off the ground. Use your ankle and foot to draw out the shapes of the alphabet. Make sure you do the movement for both ankles to improve their mobility and reduce the risk of experiencing a sprain.
Protect your ankle
If you’ve suffered ankle injury in the past, give the joint the support it needs. Wrap or tape your ankle to provide it with extra support and stability. Consult the team at Go Feet for tips on the type of tape or wrap to use and optimal technique.
Watch for uneven terrain
Anytime you’re outdoors, whether playing a sport or going for a casual walk, keep your eye on the terrain. Loose gravel, tree stubs, hidden rocks, uneven sidewalks, and potholes are ankle sprains waiting to happen.
We at Go Feet hope you never experience an ankle sprain, but if you do, the doctors are here to help you recover properly, so it is unlikely to happen again. If you have ankle problems or any concerns about your feet, call the nearest office to make an appointment, or schedule using the online tool.