If you've taken up running or other exercise, you may not be thinking too much about taking care of your ankle. However, more than 8 million people sprain their ankles every year, so it is important that you take steps to protect your ankle during physical activities. Here are some ways you can avoid seriously injuring your ankles when you exercise or run.
Stretch before Starting Your Workout or Run
When you head out for a run or start a cardio workout, you may be tempted to skip a warm-up routine. However, doing physical activities with tight muscles can be painful and can increase your chance of injury.
Instead, take time to warm-up by gently stretching your muscles so that they can withstand whatever activity you're doing that day. To stretch your ankles, gently roll them in a clockwise direction a few times. Then roll them around in a counterclockwise direction.
Strengthen Muscles in Your Ankle
Strengthening the muscles that surround your ankle bones can help prevent injuries. Strong muscles are better able to handle tripping and other movements that can cause damage. Strong muscles around the ankle can also protect the bones in the ankle as well. To make those muscles stronger, you can use ankle weights as you walk around your home.
Brace or Tape Ankles before Activities
In addition to building up muscles in the ankle region, it is also a good idea to get extra support. Before you set out for your run or start your workout, think about using an ankle brace or taping up your ankle. This will give you more ankle support, and make it less likely that your ankle will twist or become injured.
Don't Push Through Pain
Many athletes believe in the "no pain, no gain" mantra, but if you feel ankle pain at any time during your run or workout, stop. Don't push through the pain until you're done with your workout, because that can make the pain worse and increase your chances of further injury.
If you do have ankle pain, don't rely solely on pain medication to feel better. It's a good idea to see a podiatrist at a clinic like Advanced Foot & Ankle Center of Palatine to determine the cause of your pain, so that you can take steps to heal your ankle.
Use the tips in this article, and you will be better able to avoid ankle injuries. Talk to your podiatrist about more ways to protect your ankles when you exercise.