5 Ways to Prevent a Foot or Ankle Sports Injury

5 Ways to Prevent a Foot or Ankle Sports Injury

You’ve probably heard that if you want to feel your best today and stay healthy through the years, staying active matters. Fortunately, if you have an activity of choice — whether that’s a running route you like to hit after work or a pick-up game of basketball you join every weekend — logging the physical activity you need gets easier.

Unfortunately, that can change in a matter of seconds. A sports injury can take you out of commission for weeks if not months. And if you hurt your foot or ankle, even navigating your daily life gets harder, too. 

In an effort to support your physical activity — and your overall health — William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, and our team at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center want to help you avoid sports injuries. We’ve gathered up our top tips to help you prevent a foot or ankle injury as you move. 

Also, if something does happen and you end up hurt, you can visit us at our office in Wexford, Pennsylvania for help. We specialize in sports medicine and can help you find the right recovery plan to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.  

#1: Warm up first

Before you get into your activity of choice, take some time to let your body adjust to an increased level of physical activity. Even a few minutes of stretching before you get started prepares your muscles and lower your risk of getting hurt. 

When you stretch, don’t bounce. Bouncing can actually increase tension on the muscle and heighten your risk of injury. Move smoothly and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. 

#2: Stretch and strengthen your feet and ankles

The stronger your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are, the more they’ll be able to support you as you move. On days you’re not working out or playing your sport of choice, work in some foot and ankle exercises

#3: Wear the right shoes

You shouldn’t run in basketball shoes, and you shouldn’t necessarily play basketball in a pair of basic cross trainers. Athletic shoes are specifically designed to support your feet and ankles as they take on that specific activity.

Good shoe choices can be particularly helpful if you play soccer, baseball, or basketball, all of which have a high risk of ankle injury

#4: Choose flat surfaces

A lot of sports injuries have a common cause: a twisted ankle. To lower your risk of this issue, be mindful of the surfaces you’ll encounter as you move. 

If you run, for example, choose a path that’s free from large rocks and holes. If you play a court sport, make sure the court is smooth and even throughout. 

#5: Listen to your body

Many sports injuries — from plantar fasciitis to Achilles tendinitis — can start small but escalate if they aren’t addressed. Don’t push past discomfort. If you have pain or tenderness, it’s your body telling you that something is wrong. 

A lot of times, the issue stems from inflammation in your tendon. Rest plays a key role in letting that tendon heal. 

If you’re not sure if you should be taking some time off, talk with our team. We can help you assess the condition behind the symptom you’re experiencing — and develop a plan to address it. 

For any questions about foot and ankle sports injuries or care for these issues, don’t hesitate to call our office or book your appointment online.