4 Ways to Protect Ankle from Sprain

If you’ve ever had a sprained ankle you know just how painful they can be. Sometimes they can feel as if you’ve broken bones or torn ligaments but all you’ve done is twisted, or sprained, the ankle severely. Once your ankle sprain has finally healed, you may be susceptible to reinjuring the ankle if you do not take a few precautions. Here are four ways you can protect your ankle from reinjuring it after you’ve healed from the ankle sprain itself.

Wear a Brace

If it’s only been a few weeks since you hurt your ankle, wearing a brace for a month or two while you’re exercising is a good idea. It will help to support the ankle during vigorous activity that might otherwise reinjure you. The semi-rigid type brace is best for right after you’ve injured yourself and you’re healed. It will offer the necessary support and protection during running, walking and other exercise. There are also other wraps and braces you can use to support your ankle during the time of gaining your strength back such as air filled or lace braces.

Balance Work

Work on balancing on your foot that you injured. By practicing balancing exercises on that leg it helps to strengthen the leg and ankle to protect it from injury. Start out by only balancing on the leg for around 30 seconds or so. You can slowly increase this time as you gain more strength in the muscles. This should be done no less than three times a day and can be done more if you’re ankle is holding up to it.

Heel Raises

You should also perform heel raises to help strengthen the ankle. You can do these from a seated position or you can do them standing. Just as with the balance work, start by doing the heel raises and stretches for at least 30 seconds at a time and increase to three minutes or more as you gradually hold it longer.

Other Exercises

Other types of exercises you can use to help prevent an ankle sprain are toe raises, ankle circles and using steps to gain strength back in the ankle that was injured. You can also practice in and out motions where you turn your ankle as far in as you can and hold then turn it back out and hold. Adding in resistance to the in and out motion can also help you build strength back in the joint and ligaments.

These are just a few ways to help you gain strength and protect yourself from having another sprained ankle.

How To Recover From A Sprained Ankle Fast

Although a sprained ankle may not be a major injury, it could be quite a hindrance to daily activities and of course, sports would not be possible without further injuring the ankle. Depending on the severity of the sprain, recovery could take from 6 weeks to up to 4 months. However, with adequate rest, proper treatment and rehabilitation, the healing process could be sped up significantly.


Symptoms

Typically, an ankle sprain can be identified by the pain, swelling, stiffness and instability. A minor sprain involves a stretched ligament with slight tearing. The pain would not be too intense and it would still be possible to walk with a limp. If the ligament is completely torn, the ankle joint would lose its function and stability. Intense pain would be felt initially but it would wear off after a while till no pain is felt. Swelling would be extensive.


Treatment

R.I.C.E:

As with many other kinds of leg and joint injuries, the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method is the first form of treatment to contain the injury and reduce pain and swelling.

  • Rest: Avoid weight bearing as much as possible to allow the ankle to heal and prevent further aggravation of the injury.
  • Ice: Using an ice pack or ice wrap, apply it on the injured area for 10-15 minutes several times a day. This would reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Compression: After icing, use bandage to wrap around the injured area snugly. Make sure that it is not too tight that it cuts off blood circulation.
  • Elevation: Raise your leg above the heart level to further reduce the swelling.

These four steps should be repeated at least three times a day or until the pain and swelling subside.


Medication:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) can help to reduce the inflammation and reduce pain and swelling.

 

Rehabilitation

Keeping your ankle immobilized for too long can result in stiffness. Always wriggle your toes or move your ankle lightly whenever possible to keep it flexible. Once the injury has stabilized and is recovering, you can start rehabilitation exercises to restore its motion, strength and balance.

Light Exercises:

You can start off with sitting on a chair and moving your ankle up and down, followed by rolling your foot inward and outward. If these movements are bearable, proceed to stand with legs at hip width apart and lift up one foot at ankle level. Change to the other foot and repeat the reps.

Toe Raises:

Slowly lift your feet off the ground on a tiptoe and hold the position before lowering it back down. Use a support if necessary.

Calf Stretch:

With a wall for support, lean forward with one leg bent and reach out for the wall with both hands at head level. The other leg should be kept straight and feeling the stretch along the calf. Do the same with the other leg.

Common Ice Skating Injuries: Prevention & Treatment

Ice skating injuries can be either acute or overuse injuries. Single skating tends to lead to overuse injuries while pairs suffer more acute injuries due to the nature of the different styles of skating – single skaters have no external support and have to use their full strength to maneuver the moves while pair skaters perform more dangerous stunts that can cause traumatic injuries. That said, repetitive stress from excessive training could cause any skater to suffer overuse injuries and a slip of technique in any kind of sports could result in traumatic injuries.

Types of Common Ice Skating Injuries

Figure skaters are usually not foreign to injuries. Overuse injuries such as pump bump, lace bite and tendonitis are commonly experienced when skaters are breaking in their new skates. These injuries are usually caused by the stiff leather of the new boots. However, it could also be caused by incorrect skating technique and body alignment, which can lead to more serious injuries like stress fractures, knee pain and back pain.

Acute injuries are usually caused by falls and accidents. Skaters could incur wrist fractures from instinctively stretching their arms out to break a fall. An ankle sprain could also happen when landing a jump on a wrong foot. These injuries, however, could be avoided.

Prevention

To prevent overuse injuries, space out the training sessions to avoid overworking the body and stretch before getting on ice. When breaking in new skates, walk around in the skates on even ground or speed up the process with heat moulding. Ensure that proper techniques and postures are used every time.

Wrist injuries can be easily prevented by simply letting yourself fall without using your arms to absorb the impact. You should skate slowly so that should you fall, the impact would not be as damaging to your body. To protect yourself from ankle sprains and other leg injuries, make sure that your skates give enough support to your ankles, and allow just a slight lift in the air when jumping so that the landing would not be as hard.

Treatment

Usually, the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method is sufficient to treat mild to moderate skating injuries. There are also plasma and steroid injections available to treat chronic injuries. If any bones are broken (fractured), seek medical advice as soon as possible. Your doctor may order an X-ray to examine the severity of the fracture and decide if surgery is necessary. Regardless of severity, it is recommended to only resume skating after full recovery lest causing further injury.

4 Symptoms of a Hairline Fracture

Hairline fractures or stress fractures are not easily detected or felt as compared to other types of fractures. Patients may sometimes feel tenderness at the affected area coupled with some swelling. These symptoms are further amplified during activities and will reduce with rest. Hairline fractures are actually tiny cracks in a bone resulting from overuse and are frequently observed in places where repetitive loads are encountered such as the ankle. Hairline fractures often occur during high impact sports and a few factors can influence it such as the duration of exercise, frequency of exercise as well as the intensity of it. However, patients who do not participate in sports can also experience hairline fractures due to weak bones in their body. Bone diseases or osteoporosis causes a loss in bone density and places one to be more susceptible to stress fractures. In this article, we will further explore some symptoms of a hairline fracture.

Gradual pain

Pain develops gradually in patients suffering from stress fractures. As mentioned above, the pain is only present during instances of weight bearing and will go away at rest. It is different from an ankle sprain whereby pain is present throughout. In some patients with higher pain tolerances, they may not be able to feel this pain as the endorphins produced during activities can mask it, misleading the patients and result in more serious consequences.

Localised swelling

During injuries, our body’s immune system will kick in. Chemical signals are released by the brain to widen capillaries which will result in increased blood flow to the injured area. The white blood cells will then fight against any infection present. This increase in fluid causes swelling which is visible on the outside and can be relieved through the use of ice packs or anti-inflammatory medication.

Reduced pain when at rest

Another common symptom is the immediate reduction of pain experienced when at rest. This would mean that the injury sustained is not involving any muscle groups nor is it a major fracture. Patients suffering from hairline fractures will get immediate relief when they stop whatever activities they are doing.

Constant pain after continuous trauma

When patients ignore the advices of doctors to rest and choose to continue playing, their condition can worsen and there is a high risk that the stress fracture has already evolved into a complete fracture. Pain can be felt throughout even when the patient is at rest.

It only takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a hairline fracture to heal whereas a complete fracture takes around 6 months to heal. It is up to you whether you wish to sacrifice at most 2 months of your time to heal it completely or risk being out of the sport forever.

4 Most Common Gymnastics Injuries

Gymnastics is a full body and physically demanding sport meant for all gender. Due to its stressful and challenging nature, risk of injuries are extremely high. Although most injuries are minor ones, some can be serious and life threatening! This risk is amplified when risky stunts are attempted. I will discuss some common Gymnastics injuries in this article.

Wrist sprains

The wrist is the most heavily used part of the body in Gymnastics. With the extreme twisting speed and jumps, the force acting on the wrist can be double of that of our body’s weight. Thus, the wrist is the most prone to injuries. Wrist sprains are common and the immediate response would be to terminate all activities and get plenty of rest. The intensity of training in future would need to be toned down as the wrist will be more prone to future sprains. To protect and offer better support, a wrist brace should be worn prior to any strenuous activities.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear

ACL injuries are common and can happen if the gymnast lands in an awkward position. The ACL supports the knee and provides stability. However, it can rupture if it is twisted suddenly under high forces and that exact force is provided by an improper landing position following a stunt. A “pop” sound will be heard and this is followed by knee swelling. To prevent ACL injuries, a supportive knee brace should be worn. In addition, gymnasts should strengthen their leg muscles to better hold and support the ligaments together.

Foot injuries

Foot injuries are another type of common gymnastics injury. The more frequently occurring one is ankle sprain. Minor foot injuries only suffer from slight swelling while more serious cases will lead to severe swelling and a limit in mobility.  Wearing a protective brace is often required after foot injuries but this can hinder the flexibility of the gymnast.

Back injuries

Injuries to the back can be either a muscle strain, ligament sprain or even spinal disc disorder. Back pain will intensify based on the activity engaged and extension motions will cause the pain to increase. Back injuries are often referred to physiotherapists but they can be more serious underlying. Serious back injuries that are not easy to detect is the spinal disc disorder. The spinal discs will cushion our spine from shocks and if it is injured, the protective capabilities will be compromised.

Gymnastics is a physically demanding and challenging sport activity that is filled with lots of injury risks. There are strict requirements for the gymnast and training often starts young. Unlike most sports, injuries in gymnastics are hard to prevent due to the lack of protective equipment that are flexible and concealable.

5 Common Injuries Suffered by Dancers

Dancing is a physical activity that is accompanied with a certain level or risk. Dancing is something that needs to be gradually built up from scratch and one cannot simply jump into it expecting to do something they have never tried. Proper warm up and stretching as well as cooling down exercises will need to be performed religiously before and after every session. Injuries can be career threatening to any dancer and it is important to take precautions to prevent them from happening.

Meniscus Knee Tear

Dancing requires a lot of jumping and knee twisting actions accompanied by sudden direction changes. This will place a lot of stresses on the knee, particularly the ligaments and meniscus. A tear in the knee meniscus is one of the most frequent injuries experienced by dancers and it can put you out of action for up to 6 months depending on the severity. It is important to strengthen the leg muscles particularly the knee, thigh and calf to help reduce the burden on the knee.

Ankle sprains

A proper ankle connection is important in dancing. Ankle sprains occur when upon landing from a jump, the outside of the ankle rolls inwards due to a loss of balance. This will cause the ligaments in the ankle to tear. Ankle sprains are painful and will hinder you in many aspects of your daily life. You will be out of action for up to a month.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is tendonitis of the Achilles tendon and it occurs due to muscle overuse after repeatedly acting pressure on the calf muscle. It happens most frequently in dancers who place a lot of their weight on the lower body.

Neck strain

Neck strain is a common injury and it happens so frequently because dancers have to move their head throughout a dance and many of them control it incorrectly. Instead of using the spine when they arch their neck, they use the tendons, overusing them.

Muscle cramps

Dance practices and rehearsals can sometimes take a long time and start from early in the morning till late at night. As a result, they are easy victims to muscle cramps due to fatigue and a lack of required electrolytes to replace the ones they lost throughout the day. Sometimes it can happen due to improper warm up exercises.

Dancing is a very physical demanding activity and the risk of injuries is high. New dancers will need to start slow while experienced dancers cannot be complacent and skip the basic warm up and cooling down exercises. Dancers will also need to ensure that they replace their lost fluid to prevent muscle cramps.

Possible Sports Injuries From Full Contact Martial Arts

Many people around the world participate in martial arts. There are 3 types of martial arts namely the light, medium and full contact martial arts and as the names suggest, each differs in the amount of body contact involved. Martial arts have many benefits to it, most prominently are the health benefits as well as the coordination between various parts of the body, body balance and flexibility. However, as with all kinds of full contact sports, there are injuries that are associated with it.

Facial Laceration

Facial lacerations are the most common injuries sustained from full contact martial arts. They account for nearly 50% of all injuries in martial arts. Martial arts is all about predicting what your opponent will do next and if you fail to react accordingly, it can cause trauma to parts of your body, commonly the face. The result of a full blown kick to the face can cause facial laceration.

Knee Tendinitis

During martial arts, tremendous stress is placed upon both of the knees and kicking is required throughout the whole session. As such, it can cause hypertension of the knee joint which will result to tendinitis. It can create strain to the back of the knees, patellar tendons and patella, causing pain and discomfort in players.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are also a common injury in martial arts due to the nature of uneven surfaces that the event take place. Most venues will place gym mattresses or other soft cushioning materials to absorb the impact of players. However, these soft and uneven surfaces can lead to improper weight distribution when kicking, causing sprains in the ankles.

Kneecap Dislocation

Kneecap dislocation is a serious injury that happens when the patella is shifted out of alignment with the knee. It is often caused by improper leg alignment or sudden kneeling motion, causing a sudden trauma to the knee.

Plantar Fasciitis

Whenever our feet is in use, the connective tissue or plantar fascia which supports the arch of our foot will tighten and stretch. However, it is prone to overuse if the incorrect footwear is worn. It is especially common in people with flat feet and who do not use the correct footwear with the correct support.

Martial arts have a low risk of injury as compared to other full contact sports such as rugby. Most of the injuries that are suffered are often minor such as bruises. However, more serious injuries can happen either due to trauma or due to improper usage of protective equipment or total lack of them. Upon injury, for personal well-being, it is highly recommended to pursue professional diagnosis for the injury. It should be regardless of perceived severity as most injuries do not reveal the actual impact until years later or when there is severe pain. If the martial artist is serious about his practice, then all injuries should be treated at earliest time possible.