Ankle Injuries: The Achilles’ of Stepping Forward

Achilles‘ heel is defined as a metaphor for a fatal weakness in spite of overall strength. The ankle is an amazing joint filled with bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Imagine if you had to do the work that your ankle does all day long ~ twisting, turning, pushing, pressing……..I’m tired just thinking about it! I sprained and strained my ankle so many times during high school and college playing sports; have had plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. I’ve taken care of these and know how vital foot health. When you step forward in pain, you will not step forward in smiles!

The ankle: it’s strong and resilient and, if you are lucky, you will have no challenges ever. However, many activities or conditions can lead to sprained and challenged ankles.

  • Poor alignment of the bones of the feet creates being prone to ankle sprains.
  • High arches amkes the ankle less steady and prone to injury.
  • Instability from excessive flexibility at the ankle joint, which may come from stretched or inherited loose ligaments, increases the likelihood of a sprain as well.

  • Weak or chronically tense calf and shin muscles,  increase the vulnerability to injury in the foot
  • Muscular imbalance in the lower leg
  • Wearing high-heeled or platform shoes.
  • Or EVEN a slip on the ice or accidental trip can badly sprain an ankle.

So, what to do? RICE, rest, ice, compression and elevation, is the best answer. If you sustain an injury and you know it, ice your foot as soon as possible. Place a compression bandage (ace) around it enough to feel the pressure but keep circulation flowing to the toes and elevate it above your heart.

Do not delay seeing a physician. Most times, you will need to control the inflammation, use corrective boots, crutches or walker and not weight bear for a time, and sometimes corrective surgery may be necessary. It’s important to get the right diagnosis to determine what the best course of action is. When you are ready to begin rehab, seek a professional. You can also combine this with soft tissue massage by a therapist who has training specific to the foot. The foot has over 28 bones in it and multiple muscles, tendons and ligaments. Advanced knowledge of this is necessary for your success in healing and healing quickly.

Here are three simple exercises you can do sitting at your desk that will prevent injury. Once you’ve sustained an ankle injury and recovered from it, it will be necessary to keep it as flexible and as strong as possible for the future. Doing these exercises daily will help your ankles from becoming your Achille’s Heel.

Exercise To Keep your Ankles flexible & Stable*
The foot and ankle are primarily controlled by the muscles of the shin and calf. To increase the flexibility  of the ankle, the following exercises should be performed daily.

Ankle circles — While sitting in a chair, cross the injured leg over the good leg. Rotate the foot in as wide a circle as you can both clockwise and counterclockwise. Begin with 10 circles in each direction. This exercise is effective in preventing poor scar tissue formation if you’ve sustained an injuryand keeping it flexible.

• Ankle flexion — Sitting in a chair with the leg crossed as above, flex the ankle so the toes come toward the knee. Hold the flexion for one or two seconds, then point the foot and hold the point for one or two seconds. Begin with five repetitions of flexing and pointing and then rest.

• Heel raises — Stand holding on to something for balance. Without bending the knees, rise up onto the balls of the feet. Keep the feet parallel. Stay there for a moment and come down again. Begin with five repetitions and then repeat this same exercise with the knees slightly bent. Build it slowly to eight repetitions of five.

*If you’ve sustained an injury or have existing joint challenges, consult a physician before beginning this or any exercise program.

I know personally how important is to take care of ankles before and after an injury. It takes time and effort but in the long run is so vital to being able to have a great day and have fun! If you have any questions, please call. I’d love to support you in healing!

Have you ever sustained an ankle injury? What have you done to ensure your continued ankle health? Have you ever seen a massage therapist who has trained in ankle rehabilitation?

 

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