Q How can I prevent ankle sprains?
Ankle sprains can be a freak accident - but only usually the first time around! An increased risk of suffering an ankle sprain is having had a previous one. Unfortunately, many of these injuries are brushed off and not properly treated. This results in residual laxity (or looseness) around the ankle and this instability predisposes many people to suffering ankle sprains over and over.
The key to preventing ankle sprains is strengthening and training of the ankles. Some people have a foot type that predisposes them to placing more pressure on the outside of the heel than others, but even this can sometimes be compensated for by simple exercises and balance routines. Strengthening exercises make the muscles that cross the ankle joint stronger (of course)- but without balance (also called proprioceptive) training, we strengthen the connection between our brains and ankle muscles to prepare and train them how to correct for walking on uneven surfaces or even recovering from a misstep.
In certain foot types, it is important to also consider the use of custom orthotics. These devices, which slide right into the shoes, provide correction and re-balance our foot structure to give our ankle optimal support and protecting us from future sprains!