Ankle sprain is one of the most common types of bruises around, especially seen in sports. It may happen to athletes and non-athletes alike or even to children and adults. A sprain normally appears when a ligament, i.e. a bone-to-bone connector tissue, gets stretched beyond its strength, resulting in a ‘tearing’ or damage in the tissue.
Most of these cases occur due to an outside factor, which involves the anterior tal-fibular ligament. The degree of damage normally predicts how long it may take for the sprain to heal, for example, a grade 1 injury may take minimal time to heal with natural medications (rest, ice and elevation) in about a week or so.
Whereas a grade 3 sprain, can take many weeks to months coupled with extensive therapy and medication, to heal. So, how do we avoid getting ankle sprains while doing workouts? That’s what we are here to discuss.
Some Tips And Facts:
There are a lot of things, which can be done to prevent ankle sprain.
First of all, choose appropriate exercise routines and workouts, which suit your current strength, stamina and flexibility. Don’t go off pulling weights and bars you know you still will be unable to move.
Wear a footwear in which you know you can exercise well and are comfortable at the same time also wear proper clothing. If you have an alignment problem or your feet tend to ‘lean in’, try wearing a shoe-insert.
Try wearing a brace (try this only after you have had an injury or are really sure of what you’re doing) or some tape to add support, but don’t do it for a longer expanse of time as it will make the ankle lose its ability to brace itself.
Always exercise on a flat surface with a soft layer on top of it.
Wear something that suits you and you are comfortable in, and which does not become a hindrance in the workouts you will be performing.
When standing up, try to balance one foot with another. Imbalances in the leg postures may lead to uneven movements, which will ultimately result in ankle sprain, or other injuries.
If you want to prevent your ankles from spraining, strengthen the muscles in and around the ankle area. Try getting stronger before trying risky exercises.
While training your heels do try and train your buttocks too, as they are important too in the movement involving the ankles.
Before you start off your exercise work, warm up your ankle’s with some simple exercises.
Sit on the floor with your afoot outstretched and move your ankles in a circular direction.
Pull back your toes with your hands, while keeping your feet outstretched.
Point your toes away from you, while sitting with your legs outstretched.
Sit on a chair, stretch out your legs and make circles with your feet.
Stand up, then raise your heel and slowly rest them down.
Stand on each leg, individually, and close your eyes while still standing.
You can include, in your training routine, some training routines which will help building your balance stronger, which will reduce the risk of future sprains.
Photo Credit: wellsphere.com
Like for example, standing on one foot with/ without your eyes closed. At first you will not be able to stand for more than 20-30 seconds or so, but do it regularly to increase this time limit. You may try this with or without weight.
Try and learn the various signals given by our body saying when it is worn out, is fatigued and cannot take much more of the routine you are performing. Don’t push yourself when you are in pain. If you think that resisting the pain will build up your resistance, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Increase your workouts at a gradual basis. Slow but steady is definitely the way in case of exercising.
Try standing on an uneven surface and maintain your balance. A pile of towels, sand, foam benches, air mattresses, etc. may do the trick. You may try this with or without weights.
Tell your friend or trainer to help you with this. Tell them to throw a ball at you, and you try and catch the ball while standing on one foot. Looks tough, and is, but this will force you to shift your balance and as a result will train your ankle muscles nicely.
Try these few exercises to add strength to your ankles
Squat jump – Start by sitting on a squat position and then jump upwards, take care while landing. The landing is what will do your ankle good.
Split squat – Start off with the front leg at 90 degrees, knees behind toes, while your back leg is in lunge position but with knee bent and slightly on your toes. Now jump and switch the legs before landing. Do a set of 3 10 rounds.
Line drill – This includes jumping over a previously drawn line, and back, on one leg.
Single-leg hop (on a surface) – Stand on one leg then jump as far as you can.
Single leg jump – This one includes jumping on an elevated surface, like benches or stair landings, with one foot.
Toe Crunches – Placing a towel on the floor, sit with the heel of your foot just off the back of the towel. Make a fist with your toes, and try to drag the towel closer. Do a set of 3; with 10-15 repetitions (One repetition is dragging the towel fully towards you.
Single squat (on a chair) – Its like squat except the elevated leg will be on a chair.
Step up – With both feet on the landing at first; take one step on a stair, then instead of taking another, kick the knee up. Then return to the landing.
Ball hamstring curls – You’ll need a strong beach ball to do this one. Lie on the ground one foot halfway down the ball, another held up and bent at 90 degree angle. Now push your buttocks and pull up off the floor. Roll away the ball and bring it back. Do this for 3 sets of 10-15, for both legs.
Now you can go off with exercising as you like without having much to worry about. But remember ankle sprains are very common and can happen to anybody. However, there are ways of preventing it and ways of curing it.
Photo Credit: golflink.com