Ankle sprains are a fairly common injury, especially when playing sports or exercising. Ankle joints are flexible enough and give you the range of movement required to run, jump, and change direction quickly. However, this versatility is also what leads to frequent sprains, as pushing your ankle ligaments beyond their limits can injure them easily.
Once an ankle injury has been sustained, it is likely that you are out of commission for at least a couple of days and up to a few months. To avoid such scenarios, it can be beneficial to take certain precautions and preventive measures to lower the risks of ankle ligament tears.
Poor balance can cause you to trip and fall more often and increase your risk of injury. Balance within your body comes from a few different factors and involves your sight, nervous tissues, and your vestibular system. Training your balance can be done through exercises like balancing on one leg, practising yoga poses, and doing knee lifts.
Building Ankle Strength
Training and building up ankle strength is a great way to minimise future injuries. Stronger, more flexible ankles mean greater stability, and control which can lead to a reduction of injuries during exercise. Ankle strengthening can be achieved through exercises like single-leg squats, lunges, and rubber band stretches.
Using Ankle Brace or Sports Tape
If you’ve ever suffered an ankle injury that required you to visit an orthopaedic clinic in SIngapore, you might have been recommended to wear an ankle brace or sports tape during exercise.
Ankle braces and sports tape both work in similar ways. They restrict movement, reduce swelling, and provide stability and support during exercise or during recovery. Injured ankles are usually weaker and supporting them with braces or tape prevents recurrent injuries and allows your ankles time to recover back up to full strength.
Wear the Right Shoes
Are you an avid runner or sports enthusiast? You might find that your shoes are wearing out quicker than you realise. Worn out shoes, or the wrong type of shoes, might exacerbate the risk of ankle injuries.
If you’re a track runner, you should get a pair of shoes that’s suited for flat track running. If you’re a cross country runner and frequently run over branches and roots, you might want to consider shoes with greater ankle support to guard against tripping and ankle ligament tears.
It’s also essential to get footwear that fits you comfortably. Too big and your ankle is not sufficiently protected. Too small and your mobility may be restricted.
Avoid Running on Uneven Surfaces
As much as possible run on surfaces that are kinder on your ankles. Rocky terrain or hills put a lot of stress on your joints to absorb changing conditions. Running uphill is generally fine and a great way to improve fitness. Going downhill however is a different challenge and should be avoided due to the larger risk of injury involved.
Seeking Treatment For Ankle Injuries
For benign or less severe ankle injuries, self-care measures at home are appropriate. By following the RICE protocol of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, your ankle should recover in a few days and up to a few weeks.
If there is severe pain and swelling, or if you’re unable to put any weight on your ankle, then it’s advisable to seek medical attention immediately. Such symptoms may indicate ankle ligament tears which might require intervention for proper recovery.
For single or partial ligament tears, non-surgical treatments like physical therapy and rehabilitation can be prescribed. If a full ligament thickness or multi ligament tear has been sustained, an orthopaedic doctor in Singapore is likely to recommend ankle surgery as your best option for recovery. The same applies for damage to other structures of your ankle like the cartilage and tendon.
Learn More: How would an Orthopaedic Surgery Benefit me
While ankle injuries may be common, there are also many simple and easy ways to help prevent them. Many of the suggestions above not only reduce injuries from occurring, but may also help improve your physical performance.
A specialist in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, Dr Kannan Kaliyaperumal brings with him years of professional experience and accolades. He is dedicated to providing high-quality care across a range of services and treatments at his Specialist Orthopaedic Clinic in Singapore. To make an appointment, reach out to us via our contact us page and our team will get back to you.