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Ankle sprains are one of the most commons injuries seen in athletics. Although preventative exercises can reduce the risk of an ankle sprain, some sprains are inevitable. Below is a list of actions athletes can take after an initial ankle sprain to get back to the competition more quickly.

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102816-ATC-WalkingBoot.pngA few weeks ago I was watching a press conference with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson who was commenting on how the ankle injury he sustained in the previous game was progressing.  When explaining his ankle situation the day after the injury he said the first thing he did was to take off the walking boot, because “You can’t play in a boot.” 

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We hear all about it on TV and sports radio – the dreaded high ankle injury and how long we can expect the athlete will be on the sidelines compared to a regular ankle injury. But what is a high ankle injury and how does it happen? Why are high ankle injuries so much more difficult to treat?

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As a Certified Athletic Trainer the most prevalent injury I see among athletes are ankle injuries which isn’t surprising seeing as there are an estimated 25,000 ankle injuries in the U.S every day.  While athletes spend significant time on training to improve strength and agility, they really never think about training their ankle to do the same. By improving ankle proprioception (balance) and muscle strength you may be able to prevent an ankle injury, or at lease lessen the severity should an injury occur.

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When it comes to ankle bracing, specifically preventative ankle bracing, the goal should be to allow as much free ROM as possible while restricting excessive movement that causes injury.  It’s the same with preventative knee bracing.  Performance bracing means “Support” with “Mobility.”  As an ATC you get what you want, “support” and the athlete gets what they want, “mobility.”

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When I designed the first hinged ankle brace 30 years ago it was a real challenge garnering support for this innovative new technology and promoting product sales as a result.  ROM and proper joint support seemed counter-intuitive to many, with the prevailing thinking being that they were somehow mutually exclusive. Restricting normal joint ROM was thought to be the best way to provide support to the joint, while this new technology actually allowed for unrestricted ROM.  Of course, we now know that real performance actually hinges on being able to provide both ROM and support.

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