Football is one of the most popular sports worldwide, but even the best players can suffer ankle injuries, stopping them being able to play usually for at least 4-6 weeks. While these injuries are not as severe as some knee injuries, they can still be painful and time-consuming to heal. In this blog post, we have put together a list of points you can use to prevent and treat common ankle injuries in football.
When you play football and want to prevent ankle injuries, it is essential to know why ankle injuries are common and how to prevent them while playing football. Know the following points and consider what you can do yourself and which type of protective equipment is best suited to prevent ankle injuries in your case.
Why Are Ankle Injuries Common in Football?
There are a few reasons why ankle injuries are common in football. First, the nature of the game puts a lot of stress on the ankles. Players are constantly running, stopping, and changing direction, which can strain the ligaments and tendons in the ankle.
The second reason is that the football boots are evolving. They are designed to provide grip on the pitch, but they can also cause the foot to twist in unnatural ways, leading to ankle injuries.
The Best Ways to Prevent Ankle Injuries for Footballers?
Although there are many ways to prevent ankle injuries for football players, here are the best ways that are proven and suggested by fitness experts.
We have listed the best ways that every athlete, especially footballers, should be aware of:
Warm up And Cool Down Properly
You can prevent ankle injuries by executing a proper warm-up and then cooling it down.
A proper warm-up will help increase blood flow and flexibility in your body's muscles and joints. You can reduce the risks of ankle injuries, muscle strains, and joint sprains. These exercises should involve moving the joints through their full range of motion.
You can start warming the body with light cardiovascular exercises such as jogging or marching in the place. Then, move on to some dynamic stretching exercises such as calf raises, hops and small changes of direction.
Finally, finish the warm-up with some faster jogging or sprinting. This practice will help to increase your blood flow and body temperature, which helps reduce the risk of injuries. It will also help you mentally prepare for kick off.
Cooling down is equivalent to warming up. When exercises outside of a match, you usually continue your exercise regime for five minutes or so, but at a slow rate and away gently. It's not really practical to carry on playing after the game though, is it?
You might have to cool down on your own, depending on the level of football you play. Start cooling down with some light cardiovascular exercises such as jogging or marching at the same place. This should gradually reduce in intensity and speed. After that, move on to some static stretching exercises. These exercises should involve holding the stretch for 20-30 seconds. Try to stretch the main muscles used during football - the quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes are the main muscle groups to target.
Wear the Right Footwear
If you wear the wrong shoes, it leads to problems like pain in your hips, knees, ankles, or feet. Even wearing the wrong shoes for a short time may cause stress and arthritis in bones, joints, and the tissues that support them, so it is essential to wear the right shoes while playing football to prevent ankle injuries. Football is a high-impact sport that puts a lot of stress on the ankles, so it is essential to wear shoes that provide support and stability.
The pitch obviously decides which boots you wear. For harder ground in the summer months, moulds are best. They are smaller and more spread out to prevent sticking in the hard ground. In the winter and wetter months, studs help you get more grip as the ground is softer. If you're training you can wear either astroturf boots or trainers.
It is also essential to wear shoes that fit well and are comfortable, as this will help to prevent blisters and several other injuries.
Stretch Regularly to Prevent Ankle Injuries
Stretching is essential for all athletes, but football players at risk of ankle injuries. Regular stretching can help prevent ankle injuries by making the muscles and ligaments around the ankle more flexible.
There are a few different ways to stretch the ankle:
Standing Quad Stretch
In this stretch, you must stand on one foot and grab the other with your hand. Gently pull the foot up towards your body and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other foot.
Towel Calf Stretch
Towel Calf Stretch is another good stretch for the ankle, in which you need to sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Place a towel around the middle of your foot and gently pull your foot towards you. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the other foot.
If you are stretching before a football game, it is also a good idea to do some dynamic stretches, which are more active than static stretches. Dynamic stretches help to warm up the muscles and prepare them for activity.
One dynamic stretch for the ankle is to stand on one foot and swing the other leg back and forth. Another is to stand on one foot, circle the other foot around in a clockwise direction, then reverse the direction and circle around counterclockwise.
Practicing these stretches regularly will help to prevent ankle injuries. Be sure to warm up before stretching, and stretch before and after football games and practices.
Wear Ankle Support/Grip Socks
Wearing ankle support socks or grip socks can also help to prevent ankle injuries. Ankle supports provide stability to the ankle joint, help limit the range of motion, ease in changing directions, enhance the sprint, and reduce the risk of an ankle sprain. They also help to absorb impact and protect the ankle from contact with other players.
Ankle-supporting socks can be worn during both practice and games. They should be tight enough to provide support but not so tight that they restrict blood flow or movement. It's essential to break in your ankle support before wearing it in a game, as it can take some time to get used to the feeling of wearing one.
Try our grip socks to get better results.
Avoid Playing On Hard Surfaces
It is crucial to avoid playing on hard surfaces. This could include sand, freshly mowed grass, or even a carpeted surface. If you must play on a hard surface, wear proper footwear. This means cleats that fit well and provide support for your ankles. You may also want to consider wearing ankle braces or other protective gear. Be sure to warm up thoroughly before playing, and take breaks often to avoid fatigue.
Most importantly, if you do suffer an ankle injury, be sure to see a doctor right away. This is especially true if you hear a popping sound or feel intense pain. Do not try to tough it out, and continue playing. This could make the injury worse and lead to long-term problems.
Take Rest When You're Injured
In football, as in any sport, it is important to rest when injured. This is especially true for ankle injuries, which can be extremely debilitating and even career-ending. Resting when you first experience pain or swelling in your ankle can prevent the injury from worsening and potentially sidelining you for the season.
If you do suspect you have an ankle injury, it is essential to visit A&E to seek medical attention as soon as possible. An X-ray or MRI can confirm the severity of the injury and whether or not you have suffered a break or ligament damage. Once you have a diagnosis, your doctor will likely recommend a period of rest and immobilisation in a cast or boot.
During this time, it is essential to follow your doctor's orders and refrain from any activity that could further injure your ankle. This means no walking, running, or even standing for long periods. Once the initial rest period is over, you can slowly start reintroducing weight-bearing activity as tolerated.
The key to preventing ankle injuries in football is to catch them early and rest accordingly. Doing so will minimise the risk of further damage and give you the best chance of recovering fully.
The ankles are one of the essential parts of the body when playing football. They are responsible for providing stability and balance, and they also absorb a lot of impacts when running and jumping. Because of this, it is essential to keep them healthy and free from any sort of injury.
As a football player, you can do a few things to prevent ankle injuries. The very first thing is to ensure that you warm up properly before playing. This will help to loosen the muscles and prepare them for the game. Secondly, wear the proper footwear, like shoes and ankle support socks. Finally, be aware of your surroundings on the pitch. If you know that there is a hole or uneven surface, take extra care to avoid it. Following these simple tips can help prevent ankle injuries and keep yourself healthy and on the pitch.