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Avoiding Ankle Sprains this Season

The warmer weather often draws our exercises outside after many months of hibernation inside. We must be careful because exercising outside can make us more prone to sprains due to the uneven grounds.

Avoiding Ankle Sprains

Jamal Ahmad, MD, Orthopaedics at NorthShore, shares tips on how to care for and avoid sprains this spring:

What is a sprain?

Ankle sprains are very common and vary in severity. A sprain is a stretch or tear injury of a ligament and ankle sprains often injure more than one ligament. A sprain often feels like a sharp pain over the ankle region and most people initially cannot put weight on their ankle. Sometimes a bruise and swelling will result in a sprain, lasting upwards of two weeks or more.

How to Avoid a Sprain

  • Physical therapy can help strengthen and retrain the muscles around your ankle to make it stronger and more stable.
  • Stretch before you exercise.
  • Include exercises that improve your core and balance.
  • If you are prone to ankle sprains, talk to your physician about brace options.
  • Add yoga to your routine for flexibility.
  • Wear the proper type – and size – of athletic shoe based on your sport.

How to Treat a Sprain

  • Many sprains cannot be “walked off” and should be treated to by a professional.
  • RICE = Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate.
  • Sometimes a brace or walking boot is needed.
  • Over-the-counter pain relief such as aspirin can tend to the pain and inflammation.
  • Severe sprains may require physical therapy.

Most people are able to return to their regular activity 6-8 weeks after their injury.