Do you know what the most frequent sports injury is among high school students? Ankle sprains. Every day 25,000 Americans sprain an ankle. The highest rates of sprains occur in boys and girls basketball, girls gymnastics and dance. At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM we know that ankle sprains are not only immediately painful and debilitating but can lead to chronic ankle problems in the future. The best treatment, of course is prevention. Here are some tips on preventing ankle sprains:
- Always wear the right shoes for the sport or fitness activity you are doing. If you have weak ankles be sure your shoes have additional ankle support
- Replace shoes when worn out
- Be sure to stretch your ankles and Achilles tendons before and after exercise
- As much as possible, practice and play on flat surfaces
- Follow a sensible fitness regimen that allows rest between work outs or games
- Alternate fitness activities that impact the ankle with those that do not, such as biking or swimming
If you have sprained or injured your ankle in the past, make an appointment to see our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco before starting a new sport or exercise plan. The foot doctor will examine your ankle and get a detailed history of your past injuries and treatments. Ankle injuries tend to weaken the ankle and make the patient more prone to future ankle sprains and injuries. The podiatrist may recommend a brace or orthotic device to help prevent your ankle from turning.
You can also help improve the strength of your ankles by incorporating some of these stretches into your exercise routine:
· Start by balancing on one leg; hold that position, keeping your upper body as upright as possible, for 30 sections. Switch legs and repeat.
· Balancing on one leg, do a half squat while stretching the opposite leg out in front of you. Repeat 10 times. Then extend your leg to the side and behind you for 10 repetitions each. Switch legs and repeat.
· Throw and catch a ball with a partner while standing on one leg. Throw left, right, high and low for maximum strengthening exercise.
Ankle sprains that are not treated properly and promptly can result in chronic ankle problems. If you believe you have injured your ankle or are experiencing any regular pain or stiffness, contact our Somers Point office today at: (609) 927-4894.