One of the most common injuries that many people suffer are sprained ankles. A sprained ankle isn’t just something that you have to worry about while at the gym or exercising, it can just happen by taking a misstep or stepping over a tiny crack in the sidewalk.
Injuring the ankle not only is painful, it can really limit you as far as your mobility is concerned. The ankle is a relatively weak joint considering how often it is injured by many people on a daily basis, but thankfully there are some steps to take when it comes to strengthening up the joint and reducing further injury.
What are the Risks of Ankle Sprains?
About 20% of all sports related injuries are ankle injuries, but athletes aren’t the only ones at risk. Ankle sprains are fairly common in the general population as well, as thousands of injuries occur daily.
When exercising or playing a sport, the most common situation in which an ankle injury occurs in when the athlete changes direction in a quick manner. This is common in sports like football and basketball, where the athletes try to put distance in between themselves and their opponent to score points.
Changing direction in a quick manner is the most frequent case of ankle sprains as well as other injures because of the force that is exerted on the joint during this movement. Changing direction quickly is an action that puts the most force on a joint and thus is the most frequent cause of non-contact injury.
Another huge contributor to ankle sprains is not using proper form. This is something most of us have on our mind when exercising, but even walking improperly can cause us to roll or twist our ankles which can lead to injury.
Other risks include overuse of the joint including loose ligaments or loss of cartilage which weakens the joint and makes it more prone to injury. Older injuries like stress fractures in our bones can put more strain on our ligaments which hold these joints together, causing them tear and fail.
How Can You Tell If You Have a Sprained Ankle?
There are different degrees to which you can sprain your ankle, in worst case scenarios you will be pretty certain than its sprained, like in the rare cases when you can hear the ligaments pop. If this happens you will know it, this is a full tear and you will be in severe pain.
Other signs of a lesser sprain include things like bruising around the joint and pain when weight is applied to the joint. A person with a sprained ankle may lose some mobility and range of motion in the joint as well, which can affect the muscles attached to said joint, further complicating the problem.
How Can You Treat a Sprained Ankle?
If your injury is severe enough to where you can’t walk or can’t do what you normally would without problem or pain, you should go to the doctor or emergency room to get an x-ray performed. This is done not to see the ligament damage but to see if any bones were broken as well.
In some cases the damage is so severe that the patient requires surgery. In less severe cases however the patient can adequately treat the sprain themselves. Here are some things you can do yourself to help reduce recovery time needed from a sprained ankle.
1-First Rest and Recover
This is pretty obvious although most people still don’t follow through with it. Keep off the ankle as much as possible and ice it periodically for the first two days after injury to reduce swelling.
When you feel that you can continue exercise, next time you do so stick to cycling, swimming or another low impact exercise so you reduce the chance to reinjure yourself.
2-Fix Your Posture and Form
Poor posture not only can increase your chance of ankle sprain during exercise, but outside as well. Having poor posture in general unequally distributes your bodyweight along bones and joints where it doesn’t belong. This stresses out these areas and makes them prone to fracturing.
If you are having problems maintaining proper form, you can work with a physical therapist or a chiropractor to help you correct the issues with your posture.