How to Protect Your Ankles in Soccer

How to Protect Your Ankles in Soccer

How to Protect Your Ankles in Soccer

 

Whether you are a player, yourself, or your child wants to play—be aware that one of the most common injuries in soccer is the ankle sprain.

 

Simply by breaking down (sorry for the pun) the anatomy of the ankle and its mechanism, you can see how easy it is to suffer from a common ankle sprain, especially when playing soccer. With this injury, you can either suffer from the inversion sprain, which has its damage located on the outside of the ankle or just the opposite—with the damage on the inside of the ankle.

 

If you are looking to play soccer and are afraid of getting injured, you should know that there are ways to prevent it—and if it has already occurred and you happen to suffer from an ankle sprain, you can rehabilitate it.

 

Here is some helpful information:

 

Prevention

 

Before you even have the chance to get injured, it’s important to take the extra time and effort to prevent the injury at all costs. Even though soccer is a physical sport and it’s hardly “preventable”, you can still take some preventive measures, through strengthening and bracing.

 

Strengthening

 

You can focus on the muscle group peroneals, which are muscles that run down the fibula located on the outside of the leg and find their attachments on the foot.

 

If you work on these muscles, you can minimize the inversion that occurs since they are stronger and that can ultimately reduce a chance of injury.

 

You can also improve the flexibility of the calf muscles and engage in proprioceptive training to prevent the chance of injuring the ankle. These are simply done by balancing on one leg at a time and doing exercises that involve that movement and also stretching the calf muscles so they stay loose.

 

You can also take the time and work your ankle out using a band in this exercise:

 

Three-Way Ankle Band

 

  1. While sitting on the ground, straighten your legs out and loop the band around your foot. (One foot at a time).
  2. When you are ready, dorsiflex your foot, and move your toe in the direction of your knee. After one-two seconds, move it back the other way. Repeat for a desired amount.
  3. The next movement should be inversion: rotate the foot towards the center of your body, so your big toe is turning towards you (you can almost see the bottom of the big toe). Hold for a few seconds and then reverse the movement. Repeat several times.
  4. The next movement is eversion. This time your pinky toe should be moving it’s way up, as you turn your foot the opposite direction. Hold and reverse movement. Repeat.

 

Ultimately, you should repeat each movement with two sets of 12-15.

 

Ankle Bracing

 

Whether you are choosing to use a brace or wrapping up your ankle with traditional ankle wrap, you can tape up or lace up your ankle to provide support and protection. However, you should do this tape correctly and tightly, even though it will probably come apart or loose by the end of the game. Choose whatever feels more comfortable for you but you also have to make sure it is efficient.

 

Written By: Adriana Rodrigues is a professional soccer player and a coach. She has over twenty years of experience in soccer after having played in a Division 1 University and has represented two national teams, both Brazil and Portugal.

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