Winter is here, and basketball, volleyball, and wrestling are in full swing. Football season’s wrapping up too.
Regardless of the sport or sports your teen plays, their ankles are in danger. There’s a reason that in basketball they say “ankle breaker” when a player makes an awesome move.
Have you ever rolled your ankle?
Many people have, and it’s one of the most painful injuries you can experience. The pain can be severe for weeks. And it can come back off and on for years.
It’s not possible to prevent all ankle injuries. Some sports practically guarantee they will happen.
But you can prevent many of them, and here’s some steps (no pun intended) you can take to help your teen prevent a severe ankle injury from happening:
One study by Swenson and others (in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine 2013 issue) was unable to find an accurate measurement of the effectiveness of ankle braces.
Some studies have found they are effective, and especially so in elite college athletes (who have a very high risk of ankle injury). For “non-elite” athletes, a group that includes high-schoolers, effectiveness was minimal. And in some cases, braces even increased risk for ankle injuries.
This includes all types of ankle braces, including tape, semirigid braces, and lace-up braces.
For starters, your teen, if they don’t already, should work on conditioning themselves for their sport’s season before the season actually starts. A sudden increase in stress on their ankles, like that from starting a sport, significantly increases their risk of injury.
A healthy diet also helps. If your teen is one of the gifted ones who can eat potato chips and drink soda all day, yet still kick butt in sports, you’ll have a harder time convincing them of this. But, do the best you can to stress the importance of drinking lots of water throughout the day, and eating a balanced diet of proteins, vegetables, and healthy carbs.
Finally, they should warm up before doing any rigorous exercise. In sports, they’ll have to do this. But if they practice on their own at home, it’s worth your time to discuss the need for warming up doing the same movements they’ll do during full intensity (but at a slower pace as they warm up).
Hold Your Breath
Some collisions and accidents in high school sports are unavoidable. Ankles will still get stepped on, and even crushed sometimes. That’s just how sports work.
But if you can get your teen to follow these tips, they’ll minimize their risk for injury and prevent many unnecessary ankle injuries.