Whether you just enjoying something as simple as running every single day or something more like playing soccer, physical activity puts your body at risk of developing strains, fractures, and other injuries. It is true that some sports injuries can be avoided, but it is also true that you can take precautionary measures to reduce your risk of overall injury. Here are four things you can do to prevent foot and ankle injuries (and potentially others):
1. Invest in the Proper Foot Gear.
When it comes to protecting your ankles and feet from injuries, shoes and/or cleats can truly make all the difference in the world. At the same time, if you choose the wrong ones, it can be just as devastating. Therefore, you need to take care in choosing the proper footwear. Your shoes need to fit snug, but there needs to room for your toes to move freely. As your shoes begin to wear out, they need to be changed. Otherwise, they won't continue to provide you with the support and stability that they once did.
2. Warm Up the Foot and Ankle.
As you are performing your warm-up exercises, don't forget to condition your foot and ankle. These are two body parts that tend to be overlooked and are probably why they end up suffering for it. By performing regular stretches of the foot and ankle, you will be able to build up the muscles in these two areas, while also increasing flexibility and range of motion, which can make a world of difference between general discomfort and a devastating injury.
3. Don't Push Yourself Too Hard or Play Tired.
You may want to try to get that last lap in, but if your body is telling you to call it quits, then you need to stop. Your body knows when it needs to stop. Strains occur when the tendons or muscles stretch or tear – often following a high-intensity exercise. If you try to push yourself too hard, you could be putting yourself at risk of an ankle strain or possibly another injury.
4. Don't Exercise or Play Sports When You're Tired.
Now, the reason for this is because you are much more vulnerable to injury. Your form isn't anywhere near where it needs to be because you are fatigued. If something happens, you won't be able to compensate, and you won't be able to respond fast enough and could fall and twist an ankle or worse.
If you do happen to suffer a foot or ankle injury while exercising or playing sports, make sure to visit a podiatric sports medicine specialist for a diagnosis and treatment.