Your ankles allow you to move your feet up, down, and side to side. And when you’re an athlete, those movements and the joints themselves are extremely important.
Given how common ankle injuries are among athletes, taking good care of your own can go a long way toward enhancing your performance and staving off bothersome symptoms.
Board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Stephen Fisher and the team at our offices in Cumming and Buford, Georgia, effectively diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate orthopedic ankle injuries to help you get comfortably back on your feet.
To protect your own ankles while you hit the field, court, or trails, consider the following.
Ankle injuries in athletics
Playing sports can help keep your body healthy and fit, but it also raises your risk of injuries — including those that impact your ankles. In fact, ankle sprains are the most common lower limb injury, accounting for up to 40% of sports injuries.
In addition to sprains, ankle issues that commonly affect athletes include:
- Ankle tendinitis, from overuse
- Acute ankle fractures, from a sudden trauma
- Bursitis of the heel, from plentiful activity
- Chronic ankle instability, especially after an injury
- Stress fractures, from overuse
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome, from nerve damage
Most physical activity that involves your ankles can lead to these injuries, but they’re particularly common in basketball, soccer, and football.
Once you have an ankle condition, common symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, and difficulty using the joint. Your symptoms may flare up during or after activity or carry on around the clock.
How to keep your ankles healthy long-term
There’s no surefire way to avoid all ankle-related pain, inflammation, and stiffness — but you can take steps to lower your odds.
Practices that can keep your ankles healthy include:
- Warming up before intense activity
- Gradually working your way up to more intense or lengthy activity
- Cross training, with alternate activities that support ankle strength
- Wearing athletic shoes that suit your specific feet and activity
- Replacing your shoes every six months, or more often for distance running
- Avoiding exercising on uneven surfaces
- Listening to your body, taking breaks when necessary
Importantly, you should also seek professional care if you notice any ankle-related symptoms — especially if they’re severe or long-lasting. Early treatment for ankle conditions can lower your risk of complications and help you avoid intense treatments like surgery.
Our team also offers joint preservation, which involves comprehensive therapies and procedures to help you delay or avoid joint replacement surgery.
To learn more about ankle health for athletes or get started with the care you need, call one of our convenient locations or book an appointment through our website today.