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Treatment & Prevention of Ankle Sprains

In a previous article I discussed with you groin pulls, a common sports injury especially with men. In this article I’m going to extend our conversation to another related injury, ankle sprains.

How in the world are groin pulls and ankle sprains related?

You´ll be surprised to learn how a common muscular imbalance can increase the likelihood of both injuries. In the previous article about groin strains I discussed how tight adductor muscles are a main culprit for groin pulls.

Did you know that having tight adductors will also cause your feet to “supinate” or turn inwards?

Remember your body moves as a kinetic chain with muscles and joints working together and not in isolation. I´ll bet you a coffee that if you have calluses on your feet at the base of your big toes that you´re a “supinator.”

Alright so that´s not a word. I´ll still bet the evidence confirms you´re turning your feet inward creating pressure points.

Ankle sprains are often caused when the foot lands unevenly and rolls inward creating excessive load bearing forces on the joint.

If you naturally turn your feet inward while running due to tight adductors you´ve increased the likelihood of an ankle sprain. Let´s quickly review what you should do for treatment in the event you do sprain an ankle.

Ankle sprains carry the same rules for treatment as most other sports injuries. Always start with ice, elevation, compression (wrapping) and use of an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen).

Attempt to stay off the injured ankle as much as possible. There are three grades of ankle injuries from a mild strain to tearing and rupturing of theligaments.

Consult with a sports medicine doctor of podiatrist if you have significant ecchymosis (bruising), persistent swelling and are unable to put any weight on the ankle. You´ll want to minimize activities that would stress the injured ankle for several weeks to allow sufficient recovery.

The next step will be to rebuild and strengthen the associated ligaments while correcting any muscular imbalances.

Corrective exercises to rehabilitate from an ankle sprain…

It should be noted that the following corrective exercises can also be performed as a preventive measure for ankle sprains. One of my favorite exercise series for the ankle complex involves using a simple piece of banding or elastic rubber tubing.

Tie one end of the banding around a stable object and the other end around your foot. Flex and rotate your ankle in all directions against the resistance of the band or tubing.

The use of wobble boards, BOSU balls, Airex pads and other functional training tools are also great for developing proprioception in the joint through instability.

Use a biofoam roller to stretch the adductors and incorporate plenty of single leg squats, reaches and chops to strengthen the glutes and other hip abductors. Your plan should be to stabilize the ankle while also stretching and strengthening the correct muscles for improved movement patterns.

I would also highly recommend you look at the shoes you wear for working out. I am not a proponent of wearing running shoes with extensive arch supports and cushioning for weight training. I recommend you wear flat-soled varieties like wrestling shoes or even old school Converse Chuck Taylor´s when working out.

This little tip will help strengthen and stabilize the foot-ankle complex while also improving your postural alignment and movement patterns. Plus you´ll look like a guy that´s in the gym to train and not chit chat.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fitness expert, speaker, writer for Shane’s Law Blog, and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. Learn more how you can receive a FREE trial of his personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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