Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle is a goal shared by many, but unexpected ankle sprains can easily disrupt our plans and passion for movement. However, by incorporating a few simple tips and exercises into our routine, we can significantly reduce the risk of ankle sprains and continue enjoying life to the fullest. Let’s explore the strategies to prevent ankle sprains, focusing on enhancing strength, increasing stability, and choosing appropriate footwear options.

Understanding Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments connecting the bones of the ankle joint are stretched or torn, usually due to sudden twisting or rolling of the ankle. These injuries are not only painful but can also lead to long-term complications if not addressed properly. Prevention is key, and understanding the common causes and mechanisms behind this injury is the first step towards avoiding them. By being aware of situations that can put the ankle at risk, such as uneven terrain or sudden changes in direction, we can adopt proactive measures to mitigate them. 

Tips for Preventing Ankle Sprains

1. Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening the muscles and ligaments around the ankle is a fundamental strategy for preventing sprains, as advised by sports doctors. Simple exercises can be incorporated into your daily routine to reduce the likelihood of injury. The calf raise is an effective exercise and all you need to do is stand on the edge of a step, allowing your heels to suspend beyond the edge and subsequently ascend gradually onto the balls of your feet. Another beneficial exercise is the “ankle alphabet” where you assume a seated posture and utilise your toes to write the letters of the alphabet in the air to improve ankle mobility and strength. These workouts not only help prevent you from spraining your ankle but also contribute to overall lower body strength.

2. Balance and Proprioception Training

Balance and proprioception exercises are essential for improving ankle control and preventing loss of balance that can lead to sprains. Incorporating exercises that challenge your balance, such as standing on one leg or using a balance board, can help train the muscles and ligaments to respond effectively to unexpected movements. These moves not only enhance ankle stability but also contribute to better overall body coordination. Regularly adding balance and proprioception training to your routine can go a long way in reducing the risk of ankle sprains.

3. Wearing the Right Footwear and Taking Protective Measures

The significance of selecting appropriate footwear cannot be overstated when it comes to preventing ankle injuries. Whether you’re embarking on a vigorous workout or engaging in everyday activities, making the right shoe choice can make a world of difference. Prioritise shoes that offer not only optimal cushioning but also adequate ankle support, especially if your actions involve quick movements or changes in direction. High-top sneakers or shoes designed with reinforced ankle support should be your go-to option, as they greatly reduce the risk of twisting or rolling the ankle. If you’re seeking expert advice on footwear choices, consult a bone specialist for tailored recommendations that align with your unique needs and activities.

For added protection during high-risk activities, consider using ankle braces or wraps. These supportive devices can provide extra stability to the ankle joint and prevent excessive movement that might lead to injury. Maintaining a safe environment is also equally important. Be mindful of the surfaces you’re walking or exercising on as uneven terrain or slippery surfaces can increase the chances of an ankle injury. Regularly inspect your workout area for any obstacles that might pose a risk to your ankles. 

In the pursuit of an active and injury-free lifestyle, the prevention of ankle sprains holds immense significance. From targeted exercises to selecting the right footwear, you are empowering yourself with the knowledge to protect your ankles from potential injuries, allowing you to keep doing what you love.

For personalised guidance and expert care, consider reaching out to us at Advanced Orthopaedic Centre and Sports Centre. Our dedicated team of orthopaedic specialists led by Senior Consultant Orthopaedic and Sports Surgeon, Dr Poh Seng Yew, is committed to assisting you in achieving optimal musculoskeletal health and ensuring that you continue enjoying an active and vibrant lifestyle. Contact us today to know more!