The Most Common Ankle Injuries in Football and How to Avoid Them

The Most Common Ankle Injuries in Football and How to Avoid Them

The popularity of football continues to grow, and we continue to see a steady growth in the number of athletes joining the sport each year. While football can be a very good sport to play to encourage athleticism, teamwork, and fair play, it is important to note that football is an extreme contact sport, and that injury is common.

As football has become more popular, the need for increased skill, speed, and power has also grown to beat the best of the best. Players are required to handle intense tackles, quick directional changes, and immense physical pressure to perform better than the other players on the field. The result is often significant injury that can bench a player for a game or entire season.

A recent fact-based article on football injuries reported a growing trend in the number of foot and ankle injuries among the players. These injuries include ankle sprains, Achilles-tendon tears, mid-foot pain, and more. It is argued that the most common cause for these injuries is the growing strength and size of the players’ upper leg muscles. While there is an emphasis on having upper body strength and agility, the feet and ankles remain weaker, making them incapable of holding up the pressure the rest of the body puts on them.

This is especially apparent in sports like football, where directional changes, speed, and aggressive tackles all expose the weakness of the ankles and feet. 

How to Avoid Common Ankle Injuries

If you or someone you know wants to decrease their chances of ankle injuries in football, there are a few different approaches to take. Consider speaking to your sports or family doctor ahead of time to discuss the options and decide which are best for you based on your needs.

Balance Training

fit-man-exercising

Improving your balance can do wonders for your body’s overall performance. When it comes to ankle injuries, lower-limb stability is a huge factor that can easily be improved, which may help your body to avoid injury or lessen the seriousness.

Your injury-prevention exercises don’t have to be complicated, nor do you have to leave the home to do them. To strengthen your ankles for football, consider performing these 4 easy balance exercises, either at home or at the gym. These exercises require you to use your stability to perform certain tasks, like standing on one foot while throwing an object or altering your center of gravity to help your body recognize and respond to the change.

Practicing your balance every day should help to decrease chances of ankle strains, sprains, and tears.

Improved Flexibility

When one part of your body is tight and uncomfortable, the rest of your body will respond in accordance to that problem. Oftentimes, football players are focused on increasing their size and power, but lack the flexibility to have full range of motion.

A lack of motion in the legs, torso, or hip of a football player can mean that the body experiences awkward movements in order to compensate. Unfortunately, the ankles can get the brunt of these awkward movements, resulting in tears and strains.

To avoid this, work on flexibility every single day. Warming up and stretching are at the core of every successful activity. Consider these extremely effective stretching exercises for football players to lessen the load on your ankles.   

Sport-Specific Braces

Wearing a sport-specific ankle brace may also help to prevent ankle injuries in football players, with the help of some added support and protection. Designs like this ankle brace for football players work to replicate ankle taping to help prevent tears, increase stability, and protect the Achilles tendon.

The goal of a quality ankle brace is to help decrease any pain or inflammation, as well as to increase warmth and compression to the area. The result is a joint that is better protected from inversion and sprains, and that has greater flexibility to avoid tightness and injury.

Depending on the design of the brace, ankle braces for football players can also help with chronic instability, overstretched capsules, deltoid ligament injuries and more. Speak to a doctor before choosing a brace to help with your preventative measures.

Strengthening

man-doing-warm-up-gym-stretch

Strengthening exercises for the ankle can also help with injury prevention, as these exercises will help with proprioception. Proprioception is the body’s ability to recognize its positioning and to respond to that positioning properly.

Strengthening of the ankle muscles can help to prevent or lessen the seriousness of an injury, and many of the exercises can be completed at home. Consider these ankle strengthening exercises to get you started.

Conclusion

Playing sports is important for building character and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In order to reap all of the benefits of sports like football, be sure to recognize the potential for injury and how you can prevent it from happening. Football players who want to avoid ankle injuries should seriously consider these prevention exercises that can be performed anywhere on a daily basis.