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Snap, Pop & Crackle.

Ankle injuries and how to prevent them

When you think about the body of a professional athlete, you realize how resilient it must be; long hours of training and practicing with equally long hours actually performing the task at hand during competition.

Whether the athlete is a professional basketball, baseball or football player, tennis player or ballerina, the body has to be in top condition to perform at its peak. 

A ballerina, like Misty Copeland, will have a full 8-hour day of rehearsals and then often has to perform in a show the same evening for an addition 2-3 hours, and is only given one day off during the week. Serena Williams can be on the court practicing for up to 12 hours a day. Kobe Bryant is known for his work ethic, often practicing 14 hours every day. The story is that he doesn’t stop training until he has made a total of 400 practice shots in one day.

The downside to all of this is that there is no amount of practice that can prevent an injury. In fact, for every athlete that has made it to the pros, there can easily be a dozen others who didn’t make it because an injury prevented it.

Recently, Kobe Bryant tore his rotator cuff ligament during a game. There is probably very little he could have done to prevent that, despite all the hours practicing and preparing for a game. That is the harsh reality of being an athlete. This matters to us at evofoot, because the most common injuries for professional athletes or “The Weekend Warrior” happen at the ankle. 

More than likely, someone you know has had a minor sprain to their ankle. The joint contains 7 major ligaments that create the support of the ankle from all sides. When a sprain occurs, the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are either strained or torn completely.

We categorize sprains into three categories or grades:

    • Grade I Sprain: minimal damage; ligaments are only overstretched, with no significant joint instability
    • Grade II Sprain: moderate damage; ligaments are often partially torn, with no significant instability
    • Grade III Sprain: severe damage; ligaments are completely torn, result in joint instability

If you are active and often participate in any kind of sport, it is important to keep yourself protected with the correct equipment. This is especially critical if you have had a past injury and don’t want to have it become chronic.  Making sure you have the appropriate gear that supports your ankles is critical; as this is the most common injury, helping to prevent it from occurring in the first place is key.

Here are some shoes we would recommend that have ankle support

If you have a shoe without ankle support or want maximum support, consider getting an ankle brace. 

What do you do if an ankle sprain occurs?

First, you want to attend to the injury immediately. Do NOT continue any activity or try to “walk it off”.  

Second, remember RICE therapy:

    • Rest the ankle until it feels comfortable to bear weight.
    • Ice the joint as much as possible, which will limit the amount of pain and swelling that can take place
    • Compression will also help in controlling any swelling and will limit the motion and prevent re-injury
    • Elevate the ankle - this will limit the amount of excess fluid that could travel to the injured area.

We would recommend that if you get to the rest stage and you are unable to bear weight, there seems to be excessive swelling or pain, make sure you visit your local podiatrist. These may be signs of a greater injury, like a fracture, that may not be initially felt or seen.

Although we may not all play at the level of a pro-athlete, many of us still put our bodies through the strenuous cardiovascular activity that goes along with playing our favorite sports. Anytime you are trying to play at your highest level, it is imperative to have the right tools to allow you to each your goals. For this reason we should always all protective ourselves and do whatever we can to prevent an injury from happening. The correct tools, such as shoes and braces, can allow us to play our favorite sports with the peace of mind that we are protected from injuries. Make sure you are comfortable with your knowledge, and if an injury occurs make sure to see a podiatrist immediately. 

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