How to Prevent an Ankle Sprain

One wrong step and OUCH – you have an ankle sprain!

Don’t miss any beach days, softball games or favorite summer activities because of this common injury.

Protect your ankle from future sprains by trying these two strength-building exercises.

Ankle Sprain: Recovery & Prevention

In the video below, Physical Therapist Chris Ponichtera, PT DPT, shows you two simple exercises to help build stability in your ankles that will help you both recover from and prevent future injuries.

In general, when we talk about a sprain, we’re talking about the ligaments that hold your bones together.

When you have a sprain, the ligament has stretched and is now irritated. In the clinic, we commonly see people who have “rolled” their ankle, leading to a sprain.

Symptoms of an ankle sprain can include pain, bruising, and inflammation. The ankle may also feel warm or heavy.

While these symptoms are bothersome, the most unsettling symptom is often the feeling of instability the sprain leaves you with.

To improve stability and prevent future sprains, it’s important to strengthen the muscles around the ligament.

Single Leg Balance

If you’ve experienced an ankle sprain, building stability in your foot and ankle are necessary to prevent future injuries.

Help build strength by practicing a one leg balance.

Stand on one leg. If you’re recovering from a sprain or are experiencing weakness, start by standing on that weaker side. Lift the opposite leg and hold for a few seconds, then set it back down.

Repeat this lift ten times, and complete two to three sets per leg.

If you’d like more of a challenge, hold each lift longer. You can also complete your lifts with your eyes closed, which will challenge your balance.

Ankle Taps

Another great exercise for building stability is the ankle tap.

Stand on one leg. If you’re recovering from a sprain or are experiencing weakness, start by standing on that weaker side. Lift your opposite leg and tap your heel in front of you at the twelve o’clock position. Hold for a few seconds. Return to standing.

Now, lift your leg and tap that same foot out to your side or the nine o’clock position. Hold for a few seconds.

Tap your toe behind you at the six o’clock position. Hold for a few seconds.

Lastly, bring your toe across and tap at the three o’clock position. Hold for a few seconds.

Work around the clock ten times.

If you’d like more of a challenge, reach further when completing your taps.

Enjoy the Warm Weather, Injury-Free.

If you would like a more personalized approach to enjoying your favorite activities and to staying injury-free this summer and early fall, our Physical & Occupational Therapists can help.

Treatment is covered by insurance, no referral is required, and with flexible appointments you can find an appointment fast that works with your schedule.

Call 716-458-1990 or go here to schedule at one of our 12 locations throughout Western New York.

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