Since running is such an important part of the triathletes life, I would like to discuss ankle injuries and the importance of diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Almost every running sport played requires the use of your ankles and a large number of athletes have some degree of chronic ankle instability. What most people do not realize is that the number one risk factor for significant ankle injury is the previously injured ankle that was not properly treated and rehabilitated. Severity of ankle injury tends to be cumulative. Almost every person with a severe ankle sprain tells the story of multiple previous progressively worse sprain.
The ankle is a hinge joint and has a very large degree of mobility. It also bears the entire weight of the body during walking and with jumping and impact sports that can be increased to several times your body weight. Add to this the cutting and twisting motions as well as other players striking you while in motion, if you participate in other sports, and the opportunity for injury is high. Because of the way it is designed the ankle is at higher risk for injury when your foot is plantar flexed or pointing more straight out, such as when you are stepping forward or extending the foot of the forward leg while running.
We have all seen athletes ankles being taped, the use of hightop sneakers and ankle lace up braces. While these can be helpful for the chronically injured ankle, the best thing to do is to not develop ankle instability in the first place. Should you have an ankle injury, seek the advice of orthopedic healthcare professional and do not stop the rehabilitation process before it is complete. Small ankle injuries lead cumulatively to chronically unstable ankles.
Sports Medicine doctors and physical therapists are experts that work as a team in the treatment of acute and chronic ankle injuries and rehabilitating ankle instability. It is important to emphasize that this is especially important in youth sports to avoid long-term symptoms and to not create injuries that could potentially decrease your performance.