Twist and Shout: How to Minimize Ankle Sprains
WebMD News Archive
The next thing, she says, is to make sure the footwear is
appropriate. "And that means appropriate to the surface you're playing on.
Lots of research has looked at injury related to the shoe-surface interface.
For a sport involving jumping, running, cutting ... you want a fairly sturdy
shoe," says Albohm. "You're not concerned with it being lightweight or
having a sole appropriate for outdoor terrain. You want something very sturdy
and secure." Obviously, that creates a problem for the athlete with many
interests. "If you're saying, 'I can't buy six pairs of shoes,' a well-made
cross-training shoe is an excellent choice."
"Shoes do make a tremendous difference," says Perry
Julien, DPM, of the Atlanta Foot and Ankle Center. "When shoes are worn
out, they lose some of their inherent stability. So replacing the shoes
regularly is important. Also, getting the specific shoe for the specific sport
[is key]. What often happens is people will go on vacation and take just one
pair of shoes. But running shoes lack lateral stability." No lateral
stability means that you run the risk of an ankle sprain should you hit the
basketball or tennis court wearing them. According to Julien, high-tops don't
necessarily offer higher protection, but they do provide a degree of
proprioception that will allow the ankle to react to potential injury. Studies
on high-tops, however, have been mixed.
"The bottom line is: The shoe construction does not
significantly decrease the incidence of ankle sprains," says Albohm.
So what about a brace or taping? Albohm says there's a bottom
line there, too. "If you're dealing with healthy ankle joints with no
previous injuries -- and ones that have been properly strengthened -- then you
don't need any preventative measures externally," she says. But for those
with a history of ankle sprains -- especially ones that have kept them out for
2-3 weeks -- it's a different story. "Then you've compromised the ligaments
in that joint and created some instability that will not return to normal,"
Albohm says. "For those individuals, external protection is recommended and