Around 25,000 Americans sprain their ankles every day, with many ending up in urgent care and emergency rooms. Though sprains are often sports injuries, you can also turn your ankle on uneven sidewalks or while walking down stairs.
Fortunately, you can reduce your risk of sprains. Our experienced podiatrist Eric Blanson, DPM, here at PMC Foot and Ankle Clinic in Spring, Texas, is a lifelong athlete as well as a physician. He knows a few things about protecting your body from injuries like sprains.
Strengthen your core
If you participate in any sport or physical activity, you should know about the importance of core strength. Your core muscles help you stay aligned while you run or jump and allow you to change directions quickly. Without sufficient core strength, your upper body could lean too far forward or in another direction, which could upset your center of balance and increase your risk of falling or twisting an ankle.
Build ankle strength
This should be obvious, but if you participate in a sport that puts stress on your ankles, you should practice exercises to keep your ankles strong. Any type of leg exercise, such as lunges, squats, or resistance band walks, can increase your ankle strength.
Your ankles, and the rest of your body, also need to be flexible to reduce your risk of sprains. Your ligaments and other soft tissue need to be able to withstand some degree of unexpected motion. Taking time to practice stretches while warming up and cooling down can go a long way toward improving your overall flexibility and reducing your risk of sprains and other injuries.
When you start a new training regimen, whether you have a new goal or are starting a new sport, it’s critical to allow yourself time to build new strength and skills. Obviously, you should push yourself to a certain degree to be competitive, but if you’ve only ever run sprints, you can’t just go out and crush a marathon. Make sure to train smart and progressively, so you get stronger gradually.
Wear a brace
If you have a history of sprains or ankle weakness, you can wear athletic braces or tape to increase support to your ankle. We can provide exams and advice to identify the best supportive devices to reduce your risk of injury without interfering with your performance.
Rest is essential for preventing sprains and other injuries. Your muscles, ligaments, and other tissue need time to repair themselves between training sessions. Rest is also critical if you have a mild injury. Taking a little time and applying ice, heat, and elevation can help you get stronger and avoid more serious injuries later.
If you’re concerned about an ankle sprain, call our office, or book an appointment online for expert diagnosis and treatment. We offer expert diagnosis and treatment as well as advice on how to train smarter and avoid injuries like sprains in the first place.