The ankles play a pivotal role in supporting the body’s weight and enabling movement. Ankle care focuses on treatment of ankle conditions and how to prevent them. Unfortunately, ankle injuries and conditions are common, affecting people of all ages and activity levels, and proper ankle care is essential if you want to avoid unnecessary pain and remain active.
This article delves into the world of ankle care, discussing the importance of ankle care, preventive measures against ankle injuries, and the most common ankle conditions, treatment options, and rehabilitation techniques. You will also find information on where to get superior ankle treatment services in South Texas.
Why Is It Important to Take Care of Your Ankles?
We should care for our ankles just as we care for our hands, knees, shoulders, for the following reasons:
- They are the Foundation of Mobility – Ankle joints facilitate essential movement, such as walking, running, and jumping. By taking care of our ankles, we can maintain our ability to move freely and comfortably.
- To Prevent Injuries – Strengthening the ankles and maintaining flexibility can reduce the risk of sprains, strains, and fractures, which are common ankle injuries that can lead to prolonged pain and limited mobility.
- To Avoid Chronic Conditions in the Future – Neglecting ankle care can lead to the development of chronic conditions such as arthritis or chronic ankle instability, which can significantly impact daily activities.
- For Better Overall Foot Health – The health of our ankles directly affects the rest of the foot. By caring for our ankles, we can promote better overall foot health, reducing the likelihood of other foot-related problems.
How To Take Better Care Of Your Ankles
Here are some useful tips on how to take better care for your ankles:
- Use Proper Footwear – Choose supportive and well-fitting shoes that provide cushioning and support to your feet and equal weight distribution and stability to avoid spraining your ankles.
- Warm-Up and Stretch Your Feet – Engage in proper warm-up exercises and stretching routines before physical activity to enhance ankle flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. When muscles are tight, it increases your injury risk.
- Do Strengthening Exercises – Incorporate ankle-strengthening exercises into your fitness regimen. Simple exercises like calf raises and ankle circles can improve ankle strength and stability. For more exercises, consult a licensed physical therapist.
- Mind Surfaces When Walking – Be cautious of uneven or slippery surfaces. Walk carefully and wear appropriate footwear on uneven, challenging terrains.
- Avoid Overuse – Prevent overloading your feet with strenuous activities or repetitive movements. Give them time to rest and recover to avoid injury.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight – The feet are weight bearing, and excess body weight places additional stress on the ankles. A doctor can help you determine what is a healthy weight for you.
- Listen to Your Body – Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain in your ankles. Rest if you feel fatigued or experience pain during sports, exercise, or other physical activities.
- Wear Supportive Braces – If you have a history of ankle injuries or participate in high-impact sports, consider using supportive ankle braces to provide support to your ankles and prevent injury.
The Most Common Ankle Conditions and Treatments
Podiatrists, or foot and ankle specialists, regularly treat the following:
While treatment plans are individualized, but common treatments a podiatrist may recommend include:
- I.C.E Method – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation to help manage pain and swelling.
- Immobilization – In most cases, the ankle needs to be immobilized, especially if the sprain is severe. An ankle air cast or splint may be necessary to immobilize the ankle.
- Rehabilitation – Customized exercises and therapies can aid in strengthening the ankle, improving balance and range of motion, correcting abnormal gait patterns, decreasing pain, and slowly increasing function.
- Surgical Intervention – Foot and ankle surgeons can use either a ligament tightening procedure or tendon graft to fix chronic or severe ankle sprains. They can also use arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure to remove scar tissue, damaged tissue, or bone fragments that cause continued pain and prevent healing.
One highly effective form of treatment and prevention strategy for ankle injuries is custom orthotics. These are custom-made for the patient and available only at a podiatrist’s clinic.
Custom orthotics are inserted into your shoes and provide support and alignment to the feet and ankles, correct biomechanical imbalances, and distribute weight more evenly, all in all reducing stress on the ankles. The fact that custom orthotics are designed based on the patient’s unique foot structure and gait patterns makes them a superior conservative treatment method compared to mass-produced shoe inserts.
Top Ankle Care Specialist in San Antonio, Boerne, Hondo, Floresville, Kenedy, Uvalde, and Live Oak, TX
The Podiatry Group of South Texas focuses on providing top-tier ankle care services for patients with acute or chronic ankle conditions. Our podiatrists have trained in the finest podiatry schools and have over 20 years of experience treating foot injury patients. It’s about time you had your problem evaluated and treated by a professional.