We don’t think much about our ankles until they develop a problem. But the joints, ligaments, and tendons in your ankles are some of the most important in your body. Without them, you can’t get from one place to another or stabilize yourself while standing.
All told, your ankle health matters. And if you’ve dealt with ankle pain in the past, you already know that to be true. Fortunately, whether you’re trying to avoid a recurring injury or you just want to keep your ankles stable to protect your mobility, you can take some steps to avoid ankle pain.
In this blog, our ankle specialists at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center in Chandler and Laveen, Arizona, provide four tips to help you support your ankles and avoid pain.
1. Stretch your ankles
It may seem simple, but a little stretching can go a long way, especially for the ligaments and tendons, which have to work so hard to move you throughout your day.
Some basic ankle stretches may help you ward off pain and stiffness and keep your ankles healthy. For example, you can do something as simple as sit down and make big circles with your ankles. Or you could sit down, and, holding the ends of a towel in your hands, place the towel around the top portion of your foot, and pull your foot toward you.
Do your stretches before you exercise as part of your warm-up routine. You can even work them into your habits at home, such as while you’re watching TV.
2. Wear the right shoes
Whether you’re playing a sport or walking around your office, proper footwear matters.
For starters, if you know you’ll be walking across any uneven ground, steer clear of high-heeled or platform shoes. In fact, if you have a history of ankle problems, you might want to avoid high heels in all situations, because they can heighten your risk for injury.
Good shoes become especially important when you’re exercising. It’s critical that you pick shoes designed to function for your specific activity. Running shoes work differently than basketball shoes, for example. If you’re not sure which shoes will work best for your activity of choice, talk to our team. We can help you find footwear to protect your ankles so you can do what you love as safely as possible.
3. Strengthen your ankles
Strengthening your ankles can help you avoid injury. And you don’t need specialized equipment or a gym membership to get stronger ligaments and tendons in your ankles.
In fact, you can work ankle strengthening exercises into your ankle stretch routine as you watch TV. For example, you can try doing calf raises or using your toes to grip objects on the floor and pick them up.
4. Don’t ignore early signs of a problem
All too many people assume that a little ankle pain will go away on its own. But that’s only true if you give your ankle time to do the healing work you need.
If you’re experiencing any ankle pain, get off your ankle and employ the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If your ankle isn’t feeling better in a few days, come see our team. Ankle injuries can be much easier to treat when they’re caught early.
These tips should help you minimize your risk for ankle pain, but if you do end up with any ankle discomfort, we’re here to help. To meet with our ankle pain specialists, book an appointment online or over the phone with Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center today.