Ankle injuries are often associated with athletes, who twist and turn their feet in complicated, and sometimes dangerous, ways. But they aren’t the only group that can be affected by ankle sprains and strains. Foot and ankle injuries are common and can happen to anyone.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent injuries like these. Here are some tips on how you can avoid injury.
Wear the right shoes. Everyone likes their shoes to look good, but it’s important to make sure they serve a purpose, too. “Wearing stiletto heels every day or sneakers that aren’t giving you the support you need makes you more prone to injury,” explains Paoli Hospital orthopedic foot and ankle specialist Dr. Jason Miller. If you’re wearing heels, make sure they’re supportive, and try to give your feet a rest by wearing flat shoes a couple of times per week. If your sneakers are wearing down at the sole, it may be time to get a new pair.
Don’t forget to stretch. If you’re getting ready to do any athletic activity, whether it’s a game of football or going for a walk, don’t forget to stretch. A tight Achilles tendon can make your ankle unstable and more prone to injury.
Avoid uneven surfaces. Try and stay away from running on rocky or uneven terrain. If you’ll be hiking or doing trail running, make sure you find the right footwear, like a pair of hiking boots or sneakers designed specifically for the activity. Also, be especially careful running uphill or downhill for extended periods.
Pay attention. “Listening to your body is one of the best ways to prevent injury,” says Dr. Miller. “If you’re in pain, don’t ignore it.” If you have pain in your foot or ankle, make an appointment with your doctor. Ignoring the pain can worsen the injury. Also, be sure you pay attention to what activity is causing the pain, and avoid it until you have been examined and alternatives can be sought.
If you are suffering from a minor ankle injury, RIICE is the key to healing quickly.
Rest: Stay off of your injured body part.
Ice: Apply ice packs for 20-30 minute periods four to five times per day.
Immobilization: A quality ankle brace from your doctor can support the injured tissues.
Compression: Wrap your ankle firmly with an elastic bandage.
Elevation: Raise your ankle above your heart using pillows or a chair whenever possible. This lessens swelling.
With RIICE, you should see improvements within two to three days, but that doesn’t mean jumping back into your activity. Observe the same rules listed above to keep it from happening again.
Suffering from Ankle Pain?
If you’re suffering from ankle pain, make an appointment online with one of our podiatry specialists or call 1.866.CALL.MLH.