Ankle Sprains: Athletes' Worst Fear

Mukund Kuntimad, 1st Period

How many times has this happened to you...

You are playing an exciting game of soccer and you are about to score the winning goal when suddenly, you try to kick the ball in, but miss, spraining your ankle in the process. You try to get up, and regain the ball, but your ankle is in too much pain, so you end up losing the game for you team? If this has happened to you before, be it with soccer, basketball, football, or whatever you like to play, you should pay attention to the information below.

What are Ankle Sprains?

Ankle sprains are the most common of sports injuries. The sprains are usually caused by a rapid shifting movement with you foot planted firmly. When this happens, the ankle usually turns outward and the foot turns inward, causing the ligaments in this area to stretch, and even tear in drastic cases. Ankle Sprains can range from mild, when the ligaments are only stretched beyond their limit, to severe, when the ligaments are torn from the muscles and bones.
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Now you know what they are, but how can you prevent yourself from becoming a victim of the dreaded ankle sprains?

How to Grade Ankle Sprains

1. Balance Training

By working on you balancing skills, you are training your body to control itself in all types of positions, especially when in motion. You can help develop your balance skills by simply standing on one foot for extended period of time. Try starting out by standing for one minute, and periodically extending the time by 30 second each time, and this will greatly increase ankle control and strength.
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2. Ankle Strengthening

A lot of sprained ankles are caused by weak ankle joints, but there is an easy way to fix this. You can wrap a town around your ankles, and move them all around several times, providing a muscle restraint while exercising the ankle. By doing this, the ankle joints should become stronger, and you will be able to control your actions better and prevent severe injury when the joints are shifted. But if this fails, you can always seen athletic trainer of a physical therapist.
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3. Flexibility

Lack of movement in the legs, hips, and torso can lead to the stiffening of the joints and awkward movements, which can obviously lead to injuries when there is too much movement, especially around the ankle joints. The easiest way to ensure flexibility around this area is to simply keep moving and exercise on a regular basis, and doing a few stretches and massages would not hurt either, as they ensure max flexibility around the joints.
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4. Taping and Bracing

The effects of taping an bracing has been debated for several years, but recent studies have shown that by taping and bracing provides ligament support that will highly prevent any stretching and tearing when there is rapid shifting in the ankles. However, it is important to use approved tape and braces, and they cannot be wrapped to tight around the ankle, or blood flow will be restricted. Seek help from an athletic trainer about how tight you should wrap it around your ankle, as every ankle is different.
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5. Adequate Preparation for Activity

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!


I am pretty sure that every single one of you have heard this for almost every activity that you have done, but never underestimate the quality of practice. By practicing often, your ankles will be well prepared for soccer, basketball, football, etc. It may sprain on the first few attempts, but keep on practicing after it is healed, and follow the other four steps as well, and you can kiss ankle sprains goodbye!

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