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By Crofton Podiatry
February 08, 2017
Category: Foot Care Tips

One way to prevent injury is to be proactive and strengthen your body. In particular, to help your ankle from common injuries like sprains and tendinitis, you can train the muscles around the ankle joint to be stronger and more stable. The methods of training can include the following stretching, balancing, and strengthening activities.

Stretching

  • Flex and point your toes for 10 seconds each. Be conscious of the stretch from the tips of your toes to the tops of your knees.
  • Now try flexing and pointing your toes with an elastic band as added resistance.
  • Turn your ankles in circles, clockwise and counter-clockwise.
  • Now try this with an elastic band for added resistance.

Balance Training
Always start by standing with weight evenly distributed on both feet.

  • Stand straight up on one leg for 30 seconds to a minute. Try spreading your toes and engaging your muscles from the calf down to your toes. Switch legs and repeat.
  • Stand on one leg on an uneven surface like a cushion or Bosu ball. This will challenge you to balance your ankle in different directions.
  • Try one leg squats. These can be difficult, so start by squatting half way. Eventually, you may strengthen enough to do pistol squats, where you squat all the way down on one leg.
  • Hop across a line on one foot. When you land, make sure you stand for at least 2 seconds and stabilize before hopping again.

Strengthening

  • Push your foot against a fixed/heavy object. Push down, pull up (with the top of the foot), push right, and push left against the object for 10 seconds in each direction on each foot. A couch or refrigerator can work at home.
  • Calf raises – This can be done sitting, and then again when standing. In essence, it’s like tiptoeing, but make sure you do it with control and stability to maximize the effect.
  • Squat Jumps – The goal is to do squat jumps with control, so that you don’t land with a loud sound on the floor creating high impact on your knees. Try to land softly.

These types of exercises can help to make your ankle stronger, flexible, and agile, which helps to prevent injury in sports or other unstable situation (like walking in heels). When recovering from a previous sprain, these exercises can help to rehabilitate the ankle back to (close to) normal. Make sure to have your sprain checked with your board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll, at Crofton Podiatry. He can provide you with details to the proper exercises you should do for your particular injury. Call us today at (410) 721-4505 to make an appointment at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.

With the Superbowl right around the corner, football fans are gearing up for the ultimate game of the year. As is typical of the sport, however, many injuries have been plaguing the teams as they play harder than ever to get to the top spots.

Leading up to the AFC and NFC championships, for example, the foot, ankle, and knee injury list was extensive: Anthony Chickillo (ankle), Ricardo Matthews(high right ankle sprain), Davante Adams (ankle), David Bakhtiari (knee),Damarious Randall (foot), JC Tretter (knee), Richard Sherman (knee),DeShawn Shead (knee),among others. This is not even an extensive list of allthe other injuries, including shoulder injuries and concussions.

While some athletes are out for the championship game, other may play through them, even with risk of re-injury. Julio Jones (Falcons) did this during the playoffs and re-injured his toe, which caused him pain due to an earlier sprain. Though they have great teams for rehabilitation and recovery, not allowing previous injuries to fully heal can leave athletes more prone to bigger injury or long-term issues.   

Risks of Playing with Injuries

Since football is very much a contact sport, the risks of injury are always high. Butting heads, tweaking ankles from juking movements, and turf toe injuries are not uncommon. Repetitive motions can also cause injury, usually in the form of strains (e.g. plantar fasciitis) or even, stress fractures.

In the case of Julio Jones, it’s likely that the toe sprain is caused by the repeated strain or tearing of the ligaments, causing pain. These types of tissue injuries take treatment and need time to heal fully, but because he continues to play (as do other athletes), it will likely continue to cause pain. If he indeed does have torn ligaments, they can cause permanent changes in his feet, including chronic pain and deformity (shifted toe structure). Pain related to the big toe joint may indicate a Turf Toe injury, which athletes often experience. On the other hand, if the pain is in the other toes or ball of the foot, it could be or become a Plantar Plate Tear.

Hopefully, these athletes will take the time they need to rest and recover so that top players can take part in the Superbowl, should their teams be a part of it. If you’ve been playing some football or other sports and suffered foot or ankle injuries, don’t ignore it! Unlike these pro-athletes, you do not have a large team to take care of your injuries. Turn to our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll of Crofton Podiatry to take care of your needs. Call us today at (410) 721-4505 to make an appointment and get treatment sooner than later! We treat patients at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas as well.




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