How to Improve Ankle Strength to Avoid a Sprain

mprove Ankle Strength, Avoid a Sprain, ankle injury

Do you dread the severe pain of an ankle sprain? It’s a common injury that can take you out of work and other activities for a few days or even weeks.

At Progressive Podiatry, we understand the importance of prevention in keeping your ankles healthy. Before we discuss ways to strengthen your ankles, let’s review what an ankle sprain is and how it happens.

What is an ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains happen when you twist, turn, or roll your ankle when walking or running. These traumatic movements can tear or stretch the ligaments that hold the bones together to stabilize your joints. You may hear a popping sensation when the injury happens.

When the ligaments in the ankle stretch, it might be painful when you place weight on the injured leg. You’ll notice tenderness with touch, as well as bruising, swelling, reduced movement, and weakness in the ankle.

Prevention matters

Sprained ankles account for about 15% of all athletic injuries, but you don’t have to be an athlete to experience this painful condition. It’s estimated that about 23,000 ankles are sprained each day in the United States. While you can’t always prevent a misstep, you can try a few of these strategies to keep your ankles safe and strong.

Find a stretching and warm-up routine

If you’re going for a jog or participating in a class at the local gym, it’s crucial that you don’t skip your warm-up routine and stretching. These activities help prepare the ligaments and muscles in your ankles for exercise.

For warm-ups, do jumping jacks or jump rope for 2-3 minutes. If you’re looking for an effective stretch to try, here is one of our favorites:

Stand facing a wall or table. Place one foot in front of the other and lean forward to place your hands flat on the surface in front of you. While leaning forward, keep your back leg straight with your heel flat on the floor, and your front leg bent slightly. You should feel a stretch in the back of your lower leg. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and repeat three times on each side.  

Consider taping

If your ankles are weak, you might want to consider taping to increase the strength and stability in your joint. We can assist by showing you how to tape your ankle for protection. If you’re not sure you can get the taping technique down, you can purchase a support brace instead. Both of these methods provide increased strength to weak or previously injured joints.

Choose the right shoes

Choosing a shoe specific to the activity you’re planning to participate in can protect your ankles from a rolling or twisting injury. If you’re playing basketball or participating in other events that place you at a high risk for an ankle injury, choose a high top shoe for extra ankle support. Be sure to buy shoes that fit well and avoid surfaces that are wet or slick, regardless of how good your shoes might be.

The shoes you wear on the court or field aren’t the only ones that matter. Minimize the amount of time you spend in high-heeled shoes during the day and always ensure a good fit.

If you’ve suffered a recent or recurrent sprain, there are a few things our care team can do to help you strengthen your ankle. Schedule an appointment in one of our four Brooklyn offices by giving us a call or booking online today.

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