The vast majority of athletes heavily rely on ankle stability and strength in their chosen sports activity. Whether you play football or practice mixed martial arts, the fear of suffering ankle injuries is likely always at the back of your mind.
When ankles are damaged, it impacts a large range of movements, including walking, running, jumping and changing direction. These are the types of movements that athletes rely on to perform well, so even ankle injuries that do not completely compromise the joint can mean the end of a promising career.
While this is not a complete list of potential causes, here are six common ways ankle injuries may occur during sports activities.
Not Warming Up Correctly
Before you go into a workout or begin a sporting activity, performing the correct warm-up exercises is important. If your muscles, ligaments and tendons are tight when you launch into the game or activity, ankle injuries are more likely to occur. Warming up may include stretching, riding an exercise bike or skipping rope.
How you stand, run, jump or turn can dramatically impact the distribution of weight and forces over the ankle joint and supporting tissues. In a large number of cases, athletes who suffer recurring ankle injuries can correct the problem by improving their form. Working with specialist doctors who have experience in sports medicine can help.
Weak Bones, Muscles or Tendons
The shock and strain that the ankle bones, muscles and tendons are forced to absorb during sports activities are significantly higher than with gentler activities such as walking. If any of these structures are weak due to genetics, abnormalities, disease or bad nutrition, the likelihood of experiencing ankle injuries is dramatically increased.
The most common cause of ankle instability is an ankle sprain or similar injury that has not healed correctly or benefited from effective rehabilitation. Ankle instability may not necessarily result in pain, although it will likely impact your athletic ability. If you feel that one or both of your ankles are unstable, it is important to seek a consultation with an experienced orthopedic surgeon. Further ankle injuries may occur if an athlete does not receive treatment for ankle instability.
Footwear plays an essential role in almost every sports activity. If the shoes that you are wearing are not suitable for the activity, it can result in ankle injuries occurring on a regular basis. Not all feet are shaped the same, so what works for a teammate may not necessarily suit your own needs. An orthopedic surgeon can help you determine if footwear is the problem and provide expert recommendations for making improvements.
Not Cooling Down Correctly
Most athletes are well aware that they need to warm up before physical activity, but fewer take the time to cool down when the competition ends. It is important to ensure that your bones, muscles and tendons can slowly wind down from physical exertion. Dynamic stretches can help form part of an effective cool-down routine, along with a short walk. However, if you are experiencing ankle pain after sports activities, make sure to get adequate rest to avoid post-competition injuries.
Bonus Entry: Not Consulting an Orthopedic Surgeon After Ankle Injuries
An orthopedic surgeon with sports medicine experience can provide diagnosis and treatment of ankle injuries. The sooner you address the problem, the sooner you can begin on your road to recovery. At Silicon Valley Orthopaedics, we are dedicated to providing patient-guided treatment plans that are a huge benefit to competing athletes.
If you would like a consultation to discuss ankle injuries in Freemont, California, call our offices today.