This Article is About
ankle pain
orthopedic insoles
anti inflammatory drugs
legs and feet
ankle injuries
tennis players
sprains
hikers
ankles
culprit
Preventing Ankle Pain
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Many people, very sensibly, take good care of their feet. Feet are the platform that our entire body is supported on and they have to resist a lot of stress. Legs also get looked after, with regular exercise and often appliances like knee supports; most sports rely on healthy, strong legs, so they need to be in top working order. Where many people forget to pay attention, though, is the connection between legs and feet; the ankles.

Ankles are actually one of the most commonly injured parts of the body, but often get forgotten about until something goes wrong. It’s hardly surprising that things go wrong though, because the ankle is a complex joint that shares the load of both feet and legs. It’s very vulnerable to injury both in sports and everyday life, especially when sudden sideways or twisting movements are involved; tennis players, for example, frequently suffer ankle injuries.

Because of the ankle’s importance, any injuries tend to be painful and cause a lot of inconvenience. Once they occur they can be managed to some extent - ice packs and anti-inflammatory drugs can help, and in severe sprains an ankle support or even a cast can take the weight off until the muscles heal - but, as always, prevention is better. Most ankle injuries come from a few common causes, and the risk can be greatly reduced.

Many cases of ankle pain are a result of footwear that doesn’t support the heels properly. The heel is designed to share the load of standing and walking with the ball of the foot, and inadequate support can overload it. Better fitting footwear, or the use of orthopedic insoles, can resolve this and redistribute the stress.

Rapid sideways movements are a common feature of many sports - tennis has already been mentioned, and basketball is another common culprit - but can also happen accidentally during normal activities. Taking a bad step off a curb can suddenly twist the ankle, as can slipping on ice or even a wet floor. Hikers are also vulnerable when walking over rough ground; tussocks of grass are especially notorious for twisting ankles, as are wet rocky slopes. Directly supporting the ankles is an obvious solution that many people miss. Low hiking shoes should be kept for walking on good tracks; if you’re venturing into rougher ground choose boots that cover the ankle and can be securely laced to provide support. Padded tops let you lace them more tightly without being uncomfortable. Even if you’re not a hiker, consider boots for winter weather. As well as helping protect you against sprains from slippery ice they’ll even keep your feet warm.

High-heeled shoes are always stylish and are expected in many settings, but they give very poor support and make you vulnerable to twists and sprains. They should only be worn when necessary, and never for walking on uneven surfaces like cobbled or badly maintained streets.

Any shoes can allow some movement of the feet, because the fact is that perfectly fitting footwear is rare. Most of us have shoes that are only approximately the right size, and this can contribute to ankle injuries. A solution to this is the use of custom-fitted insoles, which provide better support and hold the foot in the best position to resist damage. Insoles which contain shock-absorbing foam also reduce the stress transmitted to the ankle bones every time we take a step. Although they were once an expensive, specialist product it’s now possible to order custom insoles online; new technology allows a perfect fit to be achieved using image recognition systems and 3D printing, and the price is now little more than a good pair of off the shelf insoles.


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