Spring into sports without spraining your ankle.


As the weather warms across the county, we tend to head out — side and get active with our favorite activity. But don’t let the arrival of springtime sports be the arrival of an ankle sprain.

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments, usually on the outside of the ankle. Ligaments are bands of tissue — like rubber bands — that connect one bone to another and bind the joints together. The severity of an ankle sprain depends on whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn, or completely torn.

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in athletes. Sports that involve quick, sudden movements, such as basketball, tennis, and soccer can trigger these injuries.

If you injure your ankle, don’t think it’s “just an ankle sprain” and hope it will heal on its own. Any ankle sprain requires prompt medical attention and diagnosis. Left untreated, an ankle sprain can lead to chronic ankle instability. In some cases, an injury may appear to be an ankle sprain when in actuality it is a more severe injury, such as a fracture. A general rule of thumb is to use RICE therapy for an ankle sprain — Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elegation — to help reduce swelling, pain, and further injury. It’s also important to follow up with our office to assure there hasn’t been a more serious injury that could lead to greater problems down the road if left untreated.

Help prevent ankle sprains this spring with these tips:

  • Perform exercises that help improve balance, lower leg strength and flexibility.
  • Use warm-up stretches and exercises before playing sports.
  • Use an ankle brace if you’re re- covering from an injury or have repeatedly sprained your ankle.
  • Wear the right shoes for the sport. For example, support your ankle by wearing court shoes, not running shoes, when playing sports that involve side-to-side move- ment, such as tennis and basketball.