Regardless of lifestyle, nearly everyone has dealt with some form of ankle injury. Most commonly, ankle injuries occur in the form of a strain or sprain, both of which are relatively mild in severity but may still require up to a few months to heal completely. However, these types of injuries tend to haunt you — because an ankle weakened by a sprain is more likely to have repeated sprains in the future. If you have hurt your ankle in the past, this guide is for you. We’re sharing how to build strength and prevent future ankle injuries.
What Ankle Injuries are most common?
Athletes aren’t the only ones subject to a potential ankle injury — all it takes is an uneven surface. That being said, half of all ankle sprains occur during athletic activity. Men between the ages of 15 and 24 have higher rates of ankle sprains than women of the same age range, but once over 30, women are more at risk.
Beyond ankle sprains, fractures are still quite common. While a sprain is characterized by damage to the connecting ligaments of the ankle, a fracture occurs when one or more of the bones is broken.
What are the symptoms?
If you’ve hurt your ankle and don’t know how severe the injury may be, here are a few tips. First, and most importantly, trust your gut. If you’re in tremendous pain and can’t move it, get help immediately.
Signs that it’s most likely a sprain/strain
- You may have heard a popping sound when the injury occurred
- Reasonable swelling without disfigurement
- You can still feel your toes / no tingling in your foot or toes
- The pain is centralized around the soft tissue of your ankle
Signs that it’s possibly a fracture
- You may have heard a cracking sound at the moment of injury
- Extreme swelling, almost to the point of looking “misshapen”
- Tingling or numbness anywhere on your foot
- Pain is directly centralized on your ankle bone rather than the soft tissue surrounding the inside or outside of your ankle
However, the only way to be 100% sure about the severity of your injury is to see a doctor. If you’re reading this while trying to decide who to call – reach out to us. We specialize in ankle injuries and provide the most advanced orthopedic care in Manhattan.
How to Prevent Future Injuries
It’s unfortunate, but the truth is that once you injure an ankle, you become more prone to injuring it in the future. You can minimize the risk of re-injury by undergoing extensive physical therapy. Here are a few things you can do to prevent future ankle injuries:
- Strengthen your ankle using exercises like ankle circles or tracing the alphabet with your big toe.
- Stretch thoroughly before exercise. Use specific stretches that target your ankle(s), like these.
- Utilize protective gear like an ankle brace or compression sleeve to help stabilize the joint. These are especially useful when running, hiking, or a playing sport.
- If you’re still healing from a previous injury, take it easy. It’s always better to be able to walk next week than to score that extra point!
If you’re unsure about a current injury, or you’re having trouble getting full mobility back — make an appointment! We’re ankle experts and provide the most advanced orthopedic care in Manhattan. We’d love nothing more than to help you get up and running!