The prevalence of sprained ankles in the United States is eye-opening — with over 23,000 each day. And these injuries occur in all age groups and among all activity levels, from the person walking up a flight of stairs to the athlete running down the field.
At Western Orthopaedics, our team of musculoskeletal experts believes that any steps you can take toward prevention are well worth taking, especially when it comes to your all-important ankles.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more effective ways that you can prevent a sprained ankle.
For the athlete
If you enjoy active pursuits, the thought of a sidelining injury is most unwelcome. To safeguard your ankles, there are a few rules of thumb to follow, starting with warming up.
Before you take to the field, court, or track, be sure to stretch those areas that are prone to injury, such as your ankles. We recommend simple stretches like flexing your feet, standing calf raises, and touching your toes. Keep the stretching light and fluid and avoid bouncing on your ankles during your warmup.
Next, it’s imperative that you wear the right shoes for your activity. For example, wearing tennis shoes out on a field or turf shoes where there is no turf is a recipe for disaster. Athletic shoes work best when they’re used on the surfaces they’re designed to accommodate.
As well, be sure the shoe fits snugly to provide the best support and be sure that the support systems, such as laces or velcro straps, are tight.
For everyday life
While sprained ankles often occur during athletic endeavors, they occur just as readily during the course of your everyday activities.
One of the best ways to avoid a sprained ankle is to be very aware of your surroundings. For example, if you’re walking down the street and you swerve to avoid something, be mindful of the location of the curb. We know that you can’t always predict when you might run into an obstacle, but if you spend a little time observing your surroundings, those obstacles will pose less of a threat.
Just like athletes need the appropriate gear, it’s also important to choose the right shoe for the circumstances. As an example, winters here in Colorado can be full of snow and ice, so be sure that your shoes have heavy treads that are up to the conditions. This also means avoiding slipping on a pair of clogs to walk the dog at night when there’s snow on the ground. Instead, make the effort to put on your grippy winter shoes.
Conditioning your ankles
No matter your activity level, ensuring that your ankles enjoy ample support is always a good idea. All it takes is just a few exercises a day, which you can perform at your desk or in your bed, such as drawing the alphabet with your feet or flexing your feet forward and back.
If you really want your ankles to go the distance, you can work with stability balls or use other balancing exercises to really strengthen the supporting tissues in your ankles.
If you’d like more tips on preventing a sprained ankle, please don’t hesitate to contact us at one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado.