Today’s guest post is about one of the most common injuries in youth sports: ankle sprains. Michelle Meier from Ektio writes about how to help prevent ankle sprains. Sooner or later, your young athlete will suffer from one. These tips are simple and may seem rather obvious to you, but I have a feeling that many parents and athletes don’t follow these suggestions on a regular basis. I know we didn’t. And it was probably the cause of more than one ankle injury.
Ankle sprains top the list of the 10 most common injuries in any sport, accounting for 1 million injuries annually and costing more than $2 billion in treatment. While ankle sprains are not life-threatening injuries, they do require ample recovery time and are the cause for players being sidelined from the game on a daily basis.
Fortunately, there are some tips athletes, coaches, trainers and parents of athletes can take into consideration to help players stay in the game.
1. Warm Up and Cool Down
Engaging in a regular warm up and cool down is essential for athletes of all sports. Having a regular routine is critical to avoiding injuries because it allows the body to gradually work up to a high intensity level of play. Allowing time for a light jog and stretching is highly recommended to get the blood circulating and avoiding injuries.
2. Condition the Muscle Around the Ankle
The muscles around the ankle are a major support system and are often put under a great deal of stress. Strengthening those muscles by regularly performing exercises will help stabilize the ankle when an athlete is put an ankle sprain prone situation. Some of the best exercises to perform include: standing jump squats, calf raises and plyometric training.
3. Wear Proper Shoes
Searching for the proper shoe can be a time consuming process, but every athlete is built different so finding a supportive shoe is essential to avoiding injury.
4. Avoid Rough or Uneven Playing Surfaces
Uneven playing surfaces are a major contributor to many ankle injuries. Avoiding rough terrain and finding a surface that provides stability is key for athletes. However, if you’re planning on engaging in a high-level of activity on a uneven surface, then it is recommend that you train on that surface to prepare your body for potential hazards.
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