Participating in sports can lead to injury, but you don’t have to play sports to suffer injuries that put your life on hold. Ankle injuries are common, and there are many types. Some ankle injuries require surgery

At SportsMED Orthopedic Surgery & Spine Center, we aim to help you prevent ankle injuries. But injuries do occur, and our team of specialized surgeons is here to provide the treatment you need to get back on your feet as quickly as possible.

Common ankle injuries

Your ankle is known as a hinge joint, and it’s flexible. This allows you to move your foot in many ways, jump, and pivot. Because of the flexibility of your ankle joint, it’s prone to injury. 

Three bones meet at your ankle joint: your tibia, fibula, and talus. Your tibia and fibula are in your lower leg, and your talus is in your foot. These bones are joined by ligaments that keep them in place. Tendons connect to muscles at the joint to allow movement. 

The most common ankle injuries involve the bones, ligaments, and muscles, including:

  • Bone fractures
  • Tendinitis
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Sports injuries

Your Achilles tendon is a large tendon that connects your heel bone to your calf. This tendon can rupture, or tear, leading to pain and problems walking. Any of the above injuries can range in severity, depending on how you injured your ankle. 

Causes and symptoms

Most injuries to your ankle are caused by playing sports, or walking or running on surfaces that aren’t even. You can also injure your ankle by wearing high heels or shoes that don’t fit correctly. Other common causes of ankle injuries include:

  • Tripping or falling
  • Landing wrong when jumping
  • Trauma
  • Rolling your ankle
  • Twisting your ankle

The symptoms that follow an ankle injury are similar no matter how the ankle was injured. Whether it’s a fracture or a sprain, signs to look for include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness

You may also have trouble putting weight on the injured side and find walking difficult. Most ankle injuries can be prevented, so we offer a few tips to help you avoid injury yourself and stay off the sidelines.

Prevention tips to follow

Ankle injuries are no walk in the park, so knowing how to prevent them is important. It may save you a trip to the doctor — or surgeon. 

One of the first steps to keeping your ankles healthy is simply to be careful where you walk or run. Walking and running on uneven surfaces can cause you to roll your ankle or trip, leading to pain and injury. Other tips to maintain your ankle stability include:

  • Wear shoes that fit properly
  • Keep your muscles strong and flexible
  • Avoid high heels when possible
  • Use an ankle brace for support
  • Don’t run on hills frequently
  • Play sports you’re conditioned for

One of the best tips to prevent ankle injuries while playing a sport is to warm up your muscles properly and cool down afterward. This allows the blood to get flowing to your legs and your muscles to loosen up, which can help you avoid hurting yourself. 

Also, work on your balance and stability with different exercises. Better balance helps you avoid falls and offers your joint better stability.

If you need ankle care, call us at one of our four convenient locations in Huntsville, Madison, Athens, and Decatur, Alabama, or request your appointment online.