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Dealing with Exercise-Related Ankle Injuries

Updated on March 11, 2015
Ankle injuries, unfortunately, are fairly common, but thankfully not all are serious.
Ankle injuries, unfortunately, are fairly common, but thankfully not all are serious. | Source

Ankle injuries are a fairly common malady for competitors in sports. However, they can also occur during an ordinary exercise routine, or even while walking down the street. Used properly, though, exercise may help you recover from an ankle injury, and even prevent it from occurring in the future.

Dealing with an Ankle Injury

Being safe and employing proper technique during your normal exercise routine is always important. However, this is especially critical after you injure your ankle for several reasons, including helping the ankle heal properly, minimizing the pain and severity of the injury and avoiding aggravating or worsening the injury.

Many ankle injuries involve some form of stretching or tearing of the ankle ligament. Overuse of the injured ankle during exercise may aggravate these problems; therefore, you may need to take some time off -- at least from exercises that involve movement of or pressure to the ankle -- to rest the joint and and allow it to heal. Your doctor will be able to provide you with specific treatment recommendations for your situation.

Pain, stiffness, swelling or all of the above are common symptoms of a sprained or fractured ankle.
Pain, stiffness, swelling or all of the above are common symptoms of a sprained or fractured ankle. | Source

Healing and Recovery

Each ankle injury is different, so make sure you allow yourself the time to heal properly and fully before you begin any rigorous workout. Your doctor will likely recommend that during this rest period you keep your ankle iced, wrapped and elevated to reduce swelling. Once you are able to stand on the foot again without significant pain, he will likely allow you resume some exercise on the ankle.

Serious ankle injuries may require surgery.
Serious ankle injuries may require surgery. | Source

Resuming Activity

Stretching and exercising the injured ankle is actually very important once it begins to heal. This will help you regain any strength and range of motion in the ankle that you may have lost during the healing period. However, when you are ready to resume your regular workouts, it is important that you start slow and ease back into your normal routine. Doing too much too soon could land you back in the doctor's office with an even worse ankle injury than you had originally.

Your doctor may recommend that you wear a brace to protect your ankle until it is completely healed.
Your doctor may recommend that you wear a brace to protect your ankle until it is completely healed. | Source

Prevention

Whether you are returning from an ankle injury or are simply hoping to avoid one, you should be very careful to use proper equipment and proper technique during any exercise routine, and to only lift weight that you can manage with correct form. If you are unfamiliar with a particular technique, you should have a qualified instructor or personal trainer help you. This can help reduce your risk of further injury to the ankle, as well as to other parts of your body.

Box jumps are an example of a challenging and effective exercise when performed properly, but also of one that can lead to ankle and other injuries if performed improperly.
Box jumps are an example of a challenging and effective exercise when performed properly, but also of one that can lead to ankle and other injuries if performed improperly. | Source

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