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Tips to Help You Avoid Ankle Injuries


Carolina Regional Orthopaedics sports medicine experts

Injuries can occur because of sports participation, but a person doesn't have to play sports to sustain injuries that put their life on pause. For example, an ankle injury can occur while performing a simple everyday task such as stepping off a curb or walking on a slick surface. Ankle injuries are prevalent and come in a variety of forms. Some severe ankle injuries could necessitate surgical intervention. In addition, it can take weeks to months to recover from an ankle injury, so the best scenario is to prevent the damage in the first place.


Sports Medicine Experts: Common Ankle Injuries


The Ankle Joint


The ankle forms a hinge joint, which means it's flexible. It allows people to rotate, hop, and move their feet in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, because of its flexibility, the ankle joint is prone to damage.


The tibia, fibula, and talus are the three bones that meet at the ankle joint. The talus is in the foot, and the tibia and fibula are in the lower leg. Ligaments connect these bones and keep them in place. In addition, tendons connect muscles to bones at the joint, allowing movement.


Ankle Injuries


Bone fractures, tendinitis, sprains, strains, and sports injuries are typical ankle injuries that affect the bones, ligaments, and muscles. For example, the Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to the calf and is a big tendon. This tendon has the potential to rupture or tear, causing pain and difficulty walking.


Causes


Some causes for ankle injuries:


  • Participating in sports

  • Walking or jogging on uneven surfaces

  • Wearing high heels, platform shoes, or shoes that do not fit properly

  • Tripping or falling

  • Incorrectly landing when hopping or jumping


Any of these actions can make the ankle roll or twist causing trauma.


Symptoms


The symptoms of an ankle injury (fracture or sprain) are the same regardless of how the ankle was hurt. Signs to look for in ankle injuries include pain, swelling, bruising, stiffness, and tenderness. A person can also have difficulty putting weight on the damaged ankle.


Prevention


Ankle injuries are pretty common, so learning how to prevent them is crucial.


Uneven Surfaces. One of the first things a person can do to keep their ankles healthy is to watch where they walk or run. While walking on uneven surfaces, a person risks rolling their ankle or tripping, resulting in discomfort and damage.


Shoe Fit and Type. Wearing shoes that fit correctly and are supportive is another way to keep the ankles stable. For example, avoid wearing high heels or platform shoes. These shoe types make rolling an ankle easy with the slightest misstep.


Muscle Strength. Maintain muscle strength and flexibility. For example, strong ankle muscles make the ankle more stable and less likely to roll. Work on balance and stability with a variety of workouts as well. Better balance helps a person to avoid falling and provides more stability to the joint.


Sports. Follow a strength-building exercise routine when participating in sports. Sports that require quick change-of-direction movements such as tennis, football, or soccer are tough on ankles - make sure your ankles are prepared.


Warm-Up. Warming up and cooling down appropriately before and after exercise or participating in a sport is one of the most remarkable ways to avoid ankle injuries. It allows blood to circulate to the legs and muscles to release, reducing the risk of injury.


Carolina Regional Orthopaedics


Have you sustained an ankle injury and need assistance with recovery? Carolina Regional Orthopaedics can help. Our joint and sports medicine experts can prepare a plan to get you back on your feet in no time. For an appointment, call 252-443-0400.


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