Ankle injuries are more common than you may think.
Anyone can sustain an ankle injury by simply walking down the street. However, athletes and dancers are even more likely to sustain this kind of injury.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), 25 percent of all injuries from sports are to the foot and ankle. Athletes who play certain sports with sudden foot movements, such as hockey, basketball, football and tennis, are at a greater risk of ankle injuries. However, The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine reports that the sports that cause the most ankle injuries are boys’ and girls’ basketball and girls’ gymnastics.
For dancers, the rate of ankle injuries is even higher than for those who play sports. A full 50 percent of dancers’ injuries are to the foot or ankle. Dancers’ feet and ankles endure twists, turns and heavy load during practices and performances. In addition, they are under pressure to stay thin and may eat too few nutrients, exacerbating injuries by weakening their bones and muscles.
A minor injury to the ankle will leave athletes or dancers sidelined for at least two weeks. However, a major ankle injury, like a severe sprain or Achilles rupture, can take months to heal. If an athlete doesn’t allow enough time for recovery, they are at risk of sustaining a re-injury.
While there is a rising number foot and ankle injuries in athletes and dancers, research shows that these injuries can be prevented by performing ankle balance, stretching and strengthening exercises and alternating with another sport. This is why the Midwest Orthopedics at Rush and the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA) have teamed up to promote awareness and prevention of ankle injuries. “Ankles for Life” aims to provide essential information regarding specific ankle injuries and tips for preventing these injuries in the future.