When playing certain sports, such as tennis, netball and squash there is a lot of running and skidding on the court. That puts a lot of pressure and strain on ankles, it is because of this that many players suffer from ankle injuries.
Here are our top tips on how to look after your ankles and best prevent injury;
- Start with the tried and tested RICE principle. Rest the injury (this step is easy to neglect, but don’t it’s important) whether it’s a new injury or not rest is critical. Limit the amount of stress and weight you put on the injured area. Ice: Typically, an injured ankle comes with swelling in the injured area. While resting your ankle, apply ice for roughly 15-20 minutes every hour until the swelling goes down. Compression; Compressing the injured ankle is a tried and true way of ensuring that the swelling goes down. Wrap a compression bandage around the area without making it too tight. Finally Elevate; Immediately after the injury, it is important that you keep the ankle elevated above the heart as often as possible. Try to elevate it at least two to three hours a day and while sleeping at night. Prop the ankle up on some pillows while you rest and ice it.
- Get The Right Diagnosis: In most cases, a twisted or sprained ankle will not require professional medical attention. If using the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, elevate) method of treatment has not healed the ankle, it is a good indication that it is time to see a doctor.
- Perform Mobility Exercises: Most people think that after a serious ankle injury, they have to focus on strengthening exercises. While strengthening exercises are crucial, mobility exercises are just as important. Practice moving the joint in different directions (circular motions, side to side, and up and down) to maintain flexibility and increase range of motion. Often, your range of motion deteriorates after being in a cast or brace for an extended period of time.
- Choose Shoes With Support: When you are in the post-injury phase or are going through physical rehabilitation, choose shoes that provide both comfort and support. Supportive footwear that protects the heel and arch will keep the ligaments from becoming injured further. As stated above, it is imperative that heels are not worn during this time.
- Ease Your Way Into Exercise: Once the injured ankle begins to heal, you can start to look into some light exercises or physical therapy options. In the case of a twisted ankle, you want to be cautious about the amount of exercise you perform right away. Steer clear of intensive running in the beginning and focus more on squats, lunges, and toe raises.
- Prepare For Additional Swelling: Particularly after a serious break, you should prepare to experience more swelling in the ankle for up to a year. In order to keep the area healed, ease your way into rigorous exercise and ice the ankle anytime it starts to swell after a workout. Additionally, long periods of walking could also cause the ankle to swell again. Consider using a compression bandage while working out to keep the area from swelling more than it should.
Another alternative to consider is the use of an ankle brace such as the Aircast A60 for more serious, long-term ankle injuries.