Resolve to Make this Year’s Exercise Program the Best Ever!
That’s the usual exclamation when you have that painful and often sickening feeling when you sprain your ankle (among other unrepeatable expressions).
Most folks by the time they reach adulthood have had what is technically called an “inversion” sprain of an ankle. This occurs when, for many reasons, the foot is turned forcefully inward, overstretching, and sometimes tearing the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. These ligaments are supposed to prevent these extreme motions and positions, but they can fail under heavy stress such as our body weight.
The immediate effects of this injury are obvious: pain at the outside or front of the ankle, swelling and often bruising. Bearing weight on the injured side can be difficult at the least and at times not possible due to the fact that the ankle may be unstable from the damage to the ligaments.
As a result, you limp around for a while, the ankle gets stiff and weak from lack of proper movement, and, I am sorry to say, you become immediately more vulnerable for a recurrent sprain. This increased risk occurs because once those ligaments are overstretched or torn, they never return to 100% of their original strength.
Upon any sprain event, current research supports the use of ice to the injured ankle, elevating it, reducing your weight-bearing, and seeking medical care as soon as possible. Your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, a support brace, and likely, physical therapy to begin the process of rehabilitating the ankle and the supporting muscles which can quickly weaken after the injury.
The good news is, most of these ankle sprains get better quickly. The key for the long haul is to strengthen your ankle and to make sure you keep those ankle muscles strong and flexible; remember, having one sprain makes you more likely to have a second.
Here are some easy and very effective ways to strengthen those ankles:
Now I know what you are thinking, “I don’t even want to go there”. Certainly, no one wants an ankle injury.
So how do you prevent it?
Start by doing the 3 exercises listed above. The stronger and more flexible the ankle is, the more protection you will have should you encounter a potential injury situation.
Speaking of which, a good dose of common sense around the home (where most ankle injuries occur) is in order.
Sounds basic, doesn’t it?
So many of my ankle patients would love to have known this and prevented the weeks of aggravation and discomfort from a sprain.