3 Helpful Tips for Maintaining Healthy Ankles and Avoiding Running Injuries

3 Helpful Tips for Maintaining Healthy Ankles and Avoiding Running Injuries

While many people jog with the goal of staying healthy, their exercise regimen can get derailed by unintended ankle injuries. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent problems before they start.

Whether you're seeking ankle or foot care due to a sports injury or other issue, Dr. Todd Cox at Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center in Prescott, Arizona, can help. We provide specialized screenings, diagnostic testing, and many treatments on-site for care that is both immediate and convenient.

Ankle injuries in runners

Running can cause a variety of ankle injuries. The stretching or tearing of ligaments connecting the bones can result in a sprain while similar damage to the tendon that links muscle to bone can produce a strain. Running too much, wearing the wrong shoes, and more can also create problems like tendinitis or a stress fracture.

Keeping ankles healthy

The good news is it's often possible to prevent ankle pain and injuries.

Avoid training errors

Certain training errors can lead to issues. Be sure to warm up by doing a slow two-to-three minute jog and light stretch. Don't bounce while stretching or force tight muscles.

If you want to make changes to your workout like running farther, faster or on a different type of surface, introduce these modifications gradually over multiple weeks. Cross training can help strengthen muscles.

In addition, consider the surface you're running on. Concrete is the hardest followed by asphalt and then dirt. However, if you're exercising on a dirt trail watch out for rocks, loose gravel, holes, tree roots, and other obstacles.

Finally, plan your hill workouts. Running uphill can be great for improving strength and conditioning but the distance should be increased slowly. Also, watch out when running downhill especially if you are going fast as injuries can easily occur.

Exercise your ankles

One good way to prevent injuries is to do exercises specially designed with the ankles in mind. To strengthen them, be sure to do a variety of range-of-motion activities like moving the foot in clockwise and counterclockwise circles and "writing" the alphabet. You can help improve ankle stability by practicing single-leg balance exercises.

Consider your shoes

Shoes can often be overlooked in the quest for healthy feet and ankles. It's important that they fit correctly. Get help from a knowledgeable salesperson at a running store or a podiatrist. Also, shop for shoes later in the day when the feet become a bit larger after all-day use. This can help replicate your foot size when running. Finally, alternate between two or more pairs of running shoes and replace them when they have logged 500 to 600 miles or otherwise seem worn.

Running can be a great exercise when undertaken with the proper preparation. Whether you're looking to begin a new routine or are seeking ways to reduce existing ankle discomfort, we can help. Call our office at 928-445-4898 or click here to book an appointment today.

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