Prevent Ankle Sprains with Proper Athletic Shoes

Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports-related injuries, and they can occur during non-sports activities too. Something as simple as tripping over furniture or pivoting your foot rapidly can be all it takes to injure your ankle. But even though the accident itself might be simple, the sprain can wind up being quite serious.

Fortunately, there are important steps you can take to prevent ankle injuries, especially if you’re an athlete or participate in physical activities that put a lot of strain on your ankles, feet, and lower legs. And one of those important steps is selecting the right footwear. At Animas Foot and Ankle, we help every patient enjoy better foot and ankle health with custom treatment plans tailored to their needs and lifestyles. We will make sure the shoes you wear provide your ankles and feet with the support they need to help avoid sprains and other injuries. But first, it’s important to know what causes sprains and how they differ from another common ankle injury — a strain.

Ankle sprains: causes and symptoms

Ankle sprains occur when one of the ligaments in your foot gets stretched or torn. Your ligaments are strong, fibrous bands that connect the bones in your ankle joint. They help stabilize and support the joint during movement and when you’re just standing still. When you sprain your ankle, you might hear a snapping sound or feel a popping sensation as the ligament stretches — and sometimes tears.

A strain involves your muscles or your tendons (or both). Like your ligaments, your tendons are also strong bands of connective tissue. But while ligaments connect one bone to another to form a joint, tendons connect your bones to your muscles. For instance, in your ankle, the large, strong Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel bone.

Both sprains and strains can cause similar symptoms, like:

Sprains often occur when your ankle is twisted or if you change direction rapidly when running. They can also be caused by jumping and landing incorrectly or by direct-impact injuries.

Very mild ankle sprains often can be treated with rest and application of ice. But more serious sprains, including sprains that don’t respond to rest and ice, should be evaluated by a doctor at Animas Foot & Ankle. If the ligament is badly stretched or torn or if you’ve fractured your ankle or foot, you may need a cast or other treatment to restore mobility to the joint.

Preventing sprains

That’s how sprains occur — and how they’re treated. But it would be much better if you could prevent a sprain from occurring in the first place. Certainly, proper training and warm-up exercises before physical activity can help prevent a sprain from occurring. But even before you head out to the field or the courts, you can reduce your risk for sprains by selecting the right athletic shoes. Although professional athletes and shoe companies may encourage you to believe that selecting athletic shoes is all about looks, aesthetics should never be the determining factor when selecting shoes for physical activity.

The first step in choosing the right shoe is to make sure the footwear you select is “matched” to the activity. A walking shoe is a lot different from a shoe worn during tennis or basketball, for instance. Good-quality athletic shoes from reputable manufacturers are designed to provide your feet and your legs with the support they need to perform the movements specific to an activity. That means the design, materials, cushioning, and support will be very different from one type of shoe to another. By choosing footwear that’s designed for your sport, you can reduce ankle strain as well as limit your risk for sprains.

The second step is to make sure the shoes you choose fit properly. Shoes that are too loose don’t provide enough support, and they can also cause sore spots and blisters that can affect the way you move and land. Shoes that are too tight can wind up restricting your movement, which can increase the strain and impact on your ankle.

If you think you may have sprained your ankle or if you’d like to learn more ways to prevent sprains and other injuries, the team at Animas Foot and Ankle can help. Get the care you need to keep your feet and ankles healthy. Book an appointment online today.


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