Ankle sprains are the most common acute injury that strikes runners. This one-time traumatic injury that occurs when the foot twists or rolls inward, forcing the ligament surrounding the ankle to stretch beyond their healthy range of motion.
The majority of running injuries is caused by overuse—meaning that they happen over time through applying repeated force rather than because of a single traumatic event. Other common causes include drastic changes in training volume, biomechanical deficiencies, running in the wrong shoes, poor form, etc.
The most common ankle sprain is an inversion ankle sprain resulting from a partial tear of the anterior talon-fibular ligament—the ligament in the front and outside of the ankle.
Causes of Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are widespread among trail and cross country runners. Anything that forces the foot to roll inward or outward, straining the ligament, can result in injury.
- Running on uneven surfaces
- Missing the curb
- Tripping over a rock
- Stepping in a pothole
- Landing awkwardly upon footstrike.
Symptoms of Ankle Sprains
- Immediate pain at the onset of the injury, typically accompanied by ankle swelling. You might not be able to put weight on the injured limb.
- In severe cases, this ligament may also tear completely.
How to Prevent Ankle Sprains
The only two measures you need to take to reduce the risks include:
- Running on proper surfaces, especially if you’re new to trails and challenging terrains.
- Balance exercises to strengthen the musculature structure surrounding the ankle, according to research.
- Use kinesiology tape to prevent muscle pain, relieve pressure, provide support, and increase circulation to the area.
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How to treat Ankle Sprains
- Treating ankle sprains depends, mostly, on the severity of the injury.
- In general, the R.I.C.E method is the way to go. At least, ice the injured ankle for 15 to 20 minutes three to four times a day for up to 72 hours.
- The majority of ankle sprains heal on their own, but you can expect it take 2 to 8, or longer, to fully recover.
- As a cardinal rule, return to running once you can do it pain-free, have a full range of motion in the injured joint, and the strength of the injured limb is equal to that of the healthy side.
- Use kinesiology tape. The kinesiology taping application can be used to relieve pressure, provide support, and increase circulation to the area.
- If symptoms do not improve after two or three weeks of rest, then medical intervention is required for a more intensive treatment approach. An air cast or ankle brace, and taping it up might be needed for full recovery.
If you are suffering from Ankle Sprains, the application of kinesiology tape can help you feel better. You can easily learn to apply the tape yourself, enjoying the pain relief it brings. At the same time, taping can help you improve your overall range of motion and forget all about stiffness or other similar problems caused by ankle sprains.