Ankle sprains are the most common sports injuries, with an estimated 25,000 occurring every day in the US.
Sprains can happen with any sport, including just walking across the yard! Ankle sprains are most common in ball sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and others.
What happens? The ankle is designed to have much more motion with the foot turning in, which is how sprains usually happen. The term “sprain” refers to any ligament injury. Ligaments are the tough fibers that connect bones to each other to give the skeleton strength while still allowing joints to move.
HOW TO PREVENT ANKLE SPRAINS:
To minimize the risk of chronic injury, it’s best to have a proactive strategy in place both on and off the playing field — prevention is the best sports medicine, after all. One of the easiest ways to prevent ankle sprains during athletic activity is by simply wearing appropriate equipment for the sport or activity at hand. As comfortable as those favorite sneakers may be, overly worn shoes lack the necessary traction to prevent slips and missteps. Appropriately fitting shoes with adequate traction will support the ankle joint and minimize the risk of overstretching or tearing a ligament. High-top sneakers can offer extra ankle support for activities that involve quick directional changes such as football, soccer, basketball, and tennis. If an athlete has a history of ankle sprains, it may be necessary to invest in secondary assistive devices such as a brace or rigid ankle supports.
Warming up and stretching are essential to ankle injury prevention.
A light warm-up “primes” your body for the workout ahead, raising your overall body temperature and increasing blood flow to muscles, tendons, and ligaments throughout the body. Stretching before and after a workout will increase flexibility and range of motion to support the joint. Foam rollers can also be used to stretch muscles and treat muscle soreness. One of the easiest ways to prevent an injury is simply by knowing your limits. Many injuries occur when an individual pushes too far too soon during a workout or practice. Instead, it’s safer and more effective to increase workout intensity and strength training programs incrementally over time.
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