High school football season has officially started. The stands are filled every Friday night with fans cheering on their favorite teams. While these games are great fun for fans and players alike, the sport can lead to a host of potential injuries for these young athletes.
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries sustained by high school football players. This type of injury may also be referred to as a twisted or rolled ankle. The sudden directional changes and hard hits associated with football provide many opportunities for ankle injuries to occur. A sprained ankle occurs when ligaments and tendons in the ankle are stressed or irritated.
Signs of an Ankle Sprain
Knowing how to recognize the symptoms of a sprain is important to rule out broken bones. When a sprain occurs, the blood vessels around the impacted area will release fluid into the tissues surrounding the joint. Blood flow also increases to the area causing bruising and swelling. The area becomes sensitive and painful. The nerves around the joint become sensitive, so the pain is felt as a throbbing sensation and will increase when pressure is places on the area. The joint also becomes stiff and harder to move.
Exercises to Prevent Ankle Sprain
Strong ankles are less likely to be injured, so it’s important for athletes to dedicate time to strengthening the ankles with a few simple exercises. These exercises should be performed at least three times a week or before each workout or practice session.
- Ankle Circles: Sit on the floor with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. Then, cross one leg over the other knee so that your legs form a triangle shape. Next, rotate the raised ankle in small, slow circles. Perform about twenty rotations in each direction. Make sure you perform circles both clockwise and counter clockwise. Once you’ve completed this on one side, switch and repeat on the other leg.
- Ankle Alphabet: This exercise works your range of motion. Sit on the floor in the same position as for the ankle circles, but instead of making circles, spell out each letter of the alphabet by moving your ankle. Repeat on the other side.
- Calf Raises: This strengthens your ankles and teaches them how to control a shift in body weight. Start by standing with your feet about hip-width apart. Next, shift your weight to your toes and slowly lift your heels off of the ground. Focus on keeping your ankles in a neutral position to prevent them from rolling out. Lower back to the ground and repeat. Repeat this for twenty reps.
- Shin Raises: Start again with your feet about hip-width apart. Raise your toes off of the ground. Again, focus on control as your raise your toes up and down to prevent ankles from rolling. Repeat for twenty reps.
- Single-Leg Balance: This exercise is a double whammy. It strengthens your ankles and works your lower body. Stand on one foot, bend your standing leg slightly and hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. If you start to shake, this just means your muscles are working. Focus on controlling your ankle to minimize shaking. Repeat on the other leg.
Airrosti Ankle Sprain Treatment
Our Airrosti providers know that football players hate sitting on the bench during the game. This is why Airrosti encourages our patients to remain active during treatment — no downtime, no painkillers, no crutches. At the beginning of each treatment session, our providers conduct a thorough assessment to pinpoint the cause of the pain and track the injury’s improvement. By correcting the actual cause of the pain instead of simply treating the symptoms, our patients feel lasting relief quickly.
If you’ve been suffering from a sprained ankle or lingering ankle pain, contact Airrosti today to find a provider near you.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.