Ankle Sprain PreventionJohn Miller
How To Prevent Ankle Sprains
Your feet, astonishingly, carry you over 128,000 kilometres in a lifetime – that’s three times around the planet! The ankles and feet form a critical connection between your body and the ground. Here, we share vital tips to enhance your movement, safeguard your well-being, and minimise the risk and severity of ankle sprains at work and home.
- As you step, your feet, knees, hips, and spine work in unison to absorb shock and lessen the impact. Proper footwear can further diminish these forces without compromising foot function.
- Selecting appropriate shoes for your occupation can shield you from stress injuries affecting the ankles, knees, hips, and spine.
- Opt for well-fitted, activity-specific shoes and consider sports strapping tape or an ankle brace for robust support (consult your physio for tailored advice).
- Steer clear of slippery or uneven grounds and areas with insufficient lighting to prevent mishaps.
- Bolster your leg muscles, especially around the calf and ankle, to fortify ligaments.
- Test your balance and ankle muscles by standing on one leg.
- Engage in simple exercises like walking or swimming, which are among the best.
- Always warm up before and cool down after exercise with gentle stretching routines.
After spraining your ankle, immediately adopt the RICE method for 72 hours:
- Protect: Refrain from putting weight on a painful foot and consult a health professional about using a walking boot or crutches.
- Rest: Keep movement to a comfortable range and avoid activities that cause pain.
- Ice: Apply ice or a frozen gel pack wrapped in a damp towel for 20 minutes every two hours to manage pain and mitigate tissue damage.
- Compression: Bandage the ankle and lower shin firmly to help control swelling.
- Elevation: Whenever possible, keep your ankle raised above heart level to decrease swelling.
The Role of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapists play a pivotal role in both injury prevention and recovery. Should an injury occur, they’ll assess your ankle to decide on the best treatment. Prompt intervention can alleviate swelling and discomfort, facilitating easier walking. Your physio will devise a personalised exercise regimen and provide recovery guidance to get you back on your feet and reduce the risk of future injuries.
For further details, read our “Ankle Sprains” section or get in touch with your physiotherapist about ankle pain.