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6 Ways you increase your risk of spraining an ankle

Although most mild to moderate sprains will heal on their own, a sprain can be very painful and can sideline you from activities for several weeks. If you twisted your ankle and you notice swelling and pain that makes it difficult to put weight on your foot, you may have sprained your ankle.

Common causes of sprained ankles

Many ankle sprains are just bad luck or freak accidents. But, some common, everyday things can actually increase your risk of spraining your ankle. Find out whether you could be at a higher risk of an ankle sprain with one of these factors:

  • Walking or playing sports on an uneven surface: Bumpy, uneven ground, whether it’s pavement or grass, can be a sprain waiting to happen. Sometimes people step in small, unseen holes or land on their feet awkwardly, causing a twisted ankle. Even low-impact activities like walking can put you at risk for a sprain on this type of terrain.
  • A prior sprain or ankle injury: Once you’ve sprained your ankle, the ligaments may lose some of their flexibility or strength, making you more likely to do it again. If you’ve suffered a sprain, talk with your physician about appropriate exercises you can do to help strengthen this joint again. Athletes may need to wear special supports on their ankles for a while, and may need to complete a rehabilitation program recommended by their physician.
  • Playing any sport that requires twisting, jumping, or running: Most sprains occur during sports like basketball, soccer, or football — although any sport in which you do these activities has the potential to cause a sprain.
  • Not warming up before exercise: An exercise warm up is important for all your muscles, including your ankles. Trying to jump into any strenuous physical activity without adequately warming up sets you up for many types of injuries. Most warm ups can be a lower impact, lighter version of your workout, lasting five to 10 minutes.
  • Balance problems: People with balance issues from health problems or inner ear disorders may be more likely to miss a step, fall, or have difficulty on uneven ground. If you have balance problems, use extra care when using stairs or moving on unknown terrain.
  • Wearing improper footwear: Old, worn out shoes that no longer provide the right support or that don’t fit your foot may set you up for an ankle injury. High heels can make you more likely to lose your balance and twist the ankle, so use care when wearing these shoes and don’t wear them every day.

An ankle sprain can be very painful, and some are severe. If you’re rolled or twisted your ankle and you notice swelling or bruising, it’s a good idea to call your physician. Although many sprains will heal on their own, more severe sprains may require the expertise of a podiatrist.

Learn more by contacting Kansas City Foot Specialists online or calling at (913) 338-4440 so we can work with you to keep your feet healthy.