6 Tips To Prevent And Treat Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are a very common injury that happens for different reasons, such as falling badly on the foot or exercising on an uneven surface. Here we'll give you a series of tips to avoid this problem or to treat it if it happens to you.
6 Tips To Prevent And Treat Ankle Sprains

Last update: 20 May, 2021

Ankle sprains are a fairly common type of injury, especially in people who engage in regular physical activity. They’re caused by a strain or tear of the ligaments that support the bones of the ankle.

Ankle sprains that don’t heal properly can lead to problems such as constant pain in this area of the body, instability, and joint arthritis, among others. This is why it’s important to keep in mind some tips to avoid this injury.

How To Prevent and Treat Ankle Injuries

In many cases, self-care and analgesics may be sufficient to treat a sprain. However, as mentioned, if you don’t pay special attention this injury, it can lead to other complications. Here’s how you can prevent this problem.

1. Proprioceptive Training

How to stretch your ankle.

This is a basic type of training used by athletes to strengthen the ligaments in the ankle, hence preventing sprains and other minor injuries. It’s generally recommended that this training be supervised by a physiotherapist in order to avoid aggravating the injury.

2. Try To Use Both Legs Equally

All people tend to have a dominant side, which may mean the other leg doesn’t develop as it should. Having one ankle stronger than the other poses a problem, since it increases the risk of future injuries.

Therefore, you need to train both legs equally, in order to avoid ankle sprains. It is fundamental for balanced development of both of your legs’ muscles to occur and for healthy ligaments.

3. Muscle Training

A woman stretching her foot.

Adequate muscle training will optimally strengthen the ankle zone. This way helping prevent sprains and other injuries. Well-trained muscles will tighten the delicate ankle zone, hence protecting it. Muscle training doesn’t only focus on the intensity of the exercise, but also the balance and toning provided by the activities.

4. Elimination of Fear

After an ankle sprain, many people are afraid of it happening again. This generates some mental limitations that consequently affect posture and the execution of certain activities. Therefore, in order for the area to heal properly and prevent another sprain, you need to balance its use with the other foot.

A good recovery treatment helps to ultimately mobilize the ankle adequately. This will help you let go of your fear of future injuries. After a resting period, it is fundamental that the ankle receive appropriate stimulus. Hence, allowing slow recuperation.

5. Correct Treatment

 

When you suffer an ankle sprain, it’s essential that you follow these simple steps as outlined by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Rest. Overloading the injured area can be painful and hinder recovery.
  • Apply ice. Using ice packs or putting your ankle in ice water for 15 seconds every two or three hours is very helpful for this problem. Always be aware of your resistance threshold.
  • Use a bandage. Compressing the area can help reduce swelling, as long as the bandage is adjusted in a way that doesn’t prevent good blood circulation.
  • Elevate your ankle. Holding the area above the level of the heart can help with swelling, especially when you’re lying down.
A woman with a bandage on her ankle.

6. Work On Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation should only start after the period of rest indicated by the doctor. In this way, once the swelling of the affected area has gone down, mobility exercises can be introduced progressively.

Rehabilitation physiotherapy is geared towards building back up mobility, as well as the strength, stability and flexibility of the affected ankle. A professional can guide the process, depending on the severity of the injury and the specific characteristics of each case.

Other tips to prevent ankle sprains

In addition to those mentioned in the list above, there are other exercises that you can include in your daily routine to avoid this injury. For example, make sure you warm up properly, wear the right shoes, take special care when walking on uneven surfaces and use a support tape on the injured ankle.

If you’ve suffered a sprained ankle or want to reduce your chances of having one, follow these simple steps to strengthen and properly rehabilitate this area.

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