*Lindsay’s Note: The following is a guest post on ankle injuries. I am not a doctor so please do not use the content in this article as a substitute for medical advice. Thanks!*
If competitive sports are part of your regular fitness routine, then you know how important it is to take steps to avoid injury. For example, warming up and stretching before you play helps to avoid muscle strains and tears, and the benefits of strength training for injury prevention are well documented. However, what you may not think about is how to avoid ankle injuries – and yet these are one of the most common types of sports injuries. In fact, according to WebMD, there are approximately 25,000 ankle injuries each day in the United States – and half of these occur when people are engaged in athletic activities.
One of the most important things you can do to avoid damaging your ankles is to wear the right type of sports shoe. Obviously, these should provide good all-round support for your ankles – for example, choose high-topped shoes when you are playing basketball. However, you also need to get shoes that are designed for your particular type of foot. If you have low arches or tend to roll toward the inside of your foot when you are running, then you should choose a shoe that supports your arches and is very stable around the heel. On the other hand, if you have high arches or your foot is fairly stiff, it’s best to choose a softer shoe that provides more cushioning.
Playing on a surface that offers good traction also helps to avoid ankle injuries. It is all too easy to slip and twist your ankle if you are playing on a traditional sports surface – and you can end up with further injuries if you hit the ground too hard. On the other hand, modern high-performance sports court surfaces from companies such as www.versacourt.com offer a much better grip. This means you are less likely to have problems when you make high-speed turns or accelerate. Not only that, these high-performance surfaces are softer than concrete or hardwood surfaces, which means that they create fewer repetitive strain injuries.
If you have had an ankle injury in the past, this makes it more likely that you will have an ankle injury in the future. However, you can reduce the risk of this by taping your ankle or getting a brace. If you do get a brace, make sure that you get it properly fitted by a qualified expert – a poorly fitting brace can actually make things worse. Also, after you recover from your ankle injury, your muscles are likely to be weak – a good strength-training program can help to rebuild your muscles and prevent further injury.
Finally, pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you are playing a sport and start to experience pains in your feet or ankles, then change the way you are playing or take a break from the sport until the pain goes away. If the pain comes back once you start playing the sport again, then it’s time to get it checked out at a sports medicine clinic.