An ankle sprain arises when you twist or roll your foot suddenly, shifting the ankle joint out of its normal position. Although sprains often arise during athletics, they could also take place during normal activities such as walking across your lawn or going down or up the stairs. Getting medical attention right away is important for sprains to establish the extent of the injury and get treatment underway.
Our experts at Houston Foot & Ankle Care would like to share some things you can do to prevent sprained ankles, but first, let’s take an in-depth look at the ankle.
What exactly is an ankle sprain?
A sprain occurs when a ligament around your ankle tears or stretches when your ankle moves in an unnatural way. Ligaments are bands of tough tissue that connect one bone to another. Ligaments are one of the connective tissues that help keep your ankle stable, so when they’re injured, it’s painful and can make your ankle feel wobbly.
Ankle sprain symptoms
The symptoms will differ depending on the extent of the injury, but they’ll probably include pain and swelling, and you may not be able to move the ankle much or put weight on it. You’ll experience pain due to increased nerve sensitivity. The joint will hurt, and it might even throb. The pain worsens when you move your foot in some directions, press on the sore area, or try to stand or walk. Swelling occurs due to increased fluid accumulating in the tissue. At times, the swelling might be so extreme that you could leave an indentation in the affected area if you press on it using your finger.
The ankle exam
If you come in with a suspected ankle sprain, Dr. Maislos thoroughly examines your ankle and foot. He may gently move your ankle in various directions to see what kind of range of motion it has. He might order X-rays to exclude a bone fracture or an MRI to get a better look at the connective tissues.
Ways to avoid ankle sprains
Although you can’t prevent all ankle sprains, here are a few things you can do to make them less likely.
1. Balance training
Enhancing your capacity to balance helps you hone the body’s proprioception, which is the capacity to control itself in various positions. One way of working on your balance is by simply standing on one foot. We encourage our patients to try this when brushing their teeth or conducting a light exercise. Physical therapy could also help enhance more severe balance problems or vestibular conditions.
2. Enhance flexibility
It’s important to strike a balance between flexibility and strength. Simple stretches for 30-60 seconds following a light warm-up could help alleviate discomfort and encourage sufficient mobility of your lower leg.
3. Ease into new activities
We advise patients to engage in new activities a little at a time to avoid the likelihood of sustaining an injury. For instance, your participation in a sport like football should be gradual if it’s your first time. This way, you’ll allow your ligaments to adjust to the new sport.
4. Bracing and taping
Don’t hesitate to tape the ankle or use a brace to avoid an injury. You’ll discover taping and bracing come in handy, especially during sports since they add support.
5. Build up your ankle strength
Increasing ankle strength is an excellent preventive method. You can do this through strengthening exercises, such as heel walks and standing calf raises.
Although these tips don’t guarantee that you’ll never sustain an ankle sprain, they go a long way toward prevention. If you’ve sprained your ankle and need a foot and ankle specialist, contact Dr. Maislos by calling the office in Houston, or just click the button to book your appointment online.
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