Pacifica Orthopedics, Huntington Beach, California.

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There are a number of ways to avoid spraining an ankle, where the ligament holding the bones of the foot and the joint of the ankle are stretched or torn by landing heavily. When a ligament is stretched too far, such as when the foot rolls or turns further than normal, excess pressure is placed on the joint causing the elastic fibres of the ligament to stretch too far.

This is a very common injury. It can happen to anyone, not just to athletes. Children and adults are just as likely to sprain an ankle as they walk down the street and stepping off a curb or slipping on ice. It is therefore, necessary to ensure, where possible that the ankle is well supported by the footwear. In the United States, there are around 25,000 ankle sprains, each and every day. Ladies who wear high heeled shoes are particular prone to this injury. The ankle is maintained in a very weak position due to the elevated heel, and this gives a diminished support base.

Another way to avoid ankle sprain, especially in athletes and when exercising and that is to ensure that the ankle joint is sufficiently stretched or warmed up, prior to commencing sports activities. This is especially important for runners, and players of such sports as tennis and basketball, where the A number of factors can increase the risk of ankle sprains, especially where there is explosive side-to-side movement of the foot.

It is essential when participating in such sports that the footwear is correctly designed to give as much support to the heel as possible. The main attributes of an athletic shoe are a flexible sole with a well-designed tread to absorb impact. The sports shoe industry has based its design on the bottom of the shoe, rather than the style of the upper part.

In the event of an ankle sprain or strain, it is advisable to see an orthopaedic specialist, to ensure that long-term injury to the ankle can be avoided where possible.

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