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5 Tips for Preventing Ankle Injuries

Every day, your body is at risk for injury, whether it’s at your job or during leisure activities. This is certainly true for your ankles, as they bear your weight throughout the day. You don’t want to be down with an ankle injury, so learning how to prevent them is imperative to staying on your feet.

At Phoenix Foot and Ankle Center, our team specializes in all types of foot and ankle injuries. We offer many different treatments, along with prevention strategies, to get you back to your normal activities. Our skilled orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey McAlister, helps you understand how to prevent ankle injuries.

Anatomy of your ankle

Your ankle is a joint made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons. Although most people think of it as one joint, your ankle is actually made of two separate joints. The main ankle joint is made up of three bones — your tibia, fibula, and talus.

Your tibia is the bigger of your two lower leg bones and makes up the inside of your ankle joint. The smaller fibula forms the outside of your ankle joint. Your talus is a tiny bone that sits between your tibia and fibula.

The second joint that makes up your ankle is called the subtalar joint. This joint is made from your talus and your heel bone, known as your calcaneus. Your ankle joints are also held together with several tendons and ligaments. With so many components in your ankle, it’s no surprise that you can sometimes end up with an injury.

Common ankle injuries

Ankle injuries are common in sports; however, that’s not the only way you could end up with an injury. Something as simple as stepping off a curb or running on an uneven surface is enough to hurt your ankle.

An ankle sprain is probably one of the most common injuries. It occurs when the tendons in your ankle are stretched past their normal range. A broken bone is another very common type of ankle joint injury.

You could also suffer a strain, which could be the result of trauma. No matter what injury you're dealing with, there are symptoms to look out for, including:

Depending on the severity of your injury, it could also be difficult to put any weight on the affected ankle. If you experience any of these symptoms, you'll want to see Dr. McAlister for treatment and to prevent further injury.

5 tips to keep you from getting hurt

Although ankle injuries happen even with proper training, the chance is much less if you learn prevention strategies. This is especially true if you play a sport or are an avid runner, as injuries are more likely to occur during these activities. The following are five tips to help you prevent yourself from getting hurt.

1. Warm-up before activity

This is especially true when participating in a sport or exercise routine. Gentle stretching along with a light jog helps to warm up your muscles and joints. However, you don’t want to force any muscles into stretches that cause pain.

2. Get properly fitting shoes

Whether you’re getting sneakers for a sport or buying shoes for work where you’re on your feet, proper footwear is key to preventing ankle injuries. You might want to be properly fitted for sneakers if you’re participating in a sport. Work shoes should be well-cushioned and comfortable. 

3. Don’t run too many hills

Running hills puts a lot of strain on your ankle joint and tendons. Although running uphill is a very good workout, you can injure yourself if you’re not properly conditioned. Make sure you gradually work up to running hills and also be careful running downhill.

4. Replace your shoes regularly

Older shoes become slippery when the treads wear down. You’re also at an increased risk for rolling your ankle when your shoes are old. Make sure to replace your shoes when the treads are no longer intact, or when they’re no longer comfortable. 

5. Condition your ankle muscles

Conditioning your ankles is much like conditioning any other part of your body. There are exercises that help you to strengthen your ankles to help prevent an injury from happening. A couple of these exercises include:

Your risk of an ankle injury is significantly less if you follow these tips, although there’s no foolproof way to prevent all accidents from happening. 

If you’ve hurt your ankle and want to see Dr. McAlister, call either of our convenient locations at 602-761-7819, or book an appointment online with us today.

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