Ankle injuries are one of the most common types of injuries that can occur while playing sports. This is because the ankle is constantly moving and bearing weight while you are playing, which makes it susceptible to twisting or turning in an unnatural way. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, approximately 1 million people in the United States suffer from ankle sprains every year.
An ankle injury can limit your mobility and prevent you from playing sports. Therefore, it is a worthwhile effort to try to prevent it from happening. Below are some tips on how to prevent ankle injuries when enjoying athletic activities.
Tips on How to Avoid Ankle Injuries
- Wear the right footwear for your sport. This means you should pick out shoes that fit well, are comfortable, and provide stability and support for your feet and ankles. Ask an expert, such as a foot and ankle doctor or podiatrist, what shoes are best for your chosen sport, as there are different shoes considered the best for use when playing basketball, soccer, tennis, or volleyball.
- Warm up properly before playing or practicing. This helps to loosen muscles and increase blood flow to the area, which can help prevent injuries. Warm-up exercises such as ankle pump-ups and toe raise help reduce the risk of an ankle injury.
- Use appropriate safety gear when playing sports to protect the ankles. Examples of safety gear that helps prevent ankle injuries while playing sports is an ankle brace or tape, which are commonly used by football players, and stirrups for those who play basketball. Protective gear provides greater stability to the ankle and minimizes the risk of injuries, should you fall and twist your ankle.
- Be aware of your surroundings and be cautious of potential hazards on the playing field or court that could cause an ankle injury. Uneven surfaces, debris, and items on the court or field can get in the way and make you trip. Bring attention to these hazards, so they can be addressed before you play.
- Listen to your body. If you are feeling pain in any part of your body during play, stop immediately and apply ice to the area to avoid further injury. Pain is not a good sign when playing sports, so don’t suffer through the pain, as it can result in a serious injury. Should an injury occur, the RICE method of rest, ice, compression, and elevation is useful in reducing symptoms and helping you recover.
- Rest when you are tired. This is a good tip for prevention, as playing while fatigued predisposes you to ankle injuries. Always fit in days of rest between practices, so that you don’t overuse your body and increase your risk of injuries, as a result.
If you develop an ankle injury while playing sports, and the symptoms persist or worsen after a couple of days, seek out expert care. This is true especially if you are an athlete. While mild ankle injuries can heal with home care, moderate to severe ones require rehabilitation and in rare cases, surgery.
Foot and Ankle Doctor in West Orange, New Jersey
At Hudson MD Group, we provide comprehensive care for a range of podiatry conditions, including ankle injuries. In most cases, ankle injuries heal completely without the need for surgical intervention, and our foot and ankle doctors use different techniques such as orthotics, braces, and shoe inserts in treatment. To schedule an appointment with an experienced foot and ankle doctor in West Orange, call our office today at (973) 705-4914 or send us a message online.