A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together.
Ligaments help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.
Signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle vary depending on the severity of the injury. They may include:
Pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot
Tenderness when you touch the ankle
Restricted range of motion
Instability in the ankle
Popping sensation or sound at the time of injury
Ankle sprains are a common sports injury, particularly in sports that require jumping, cutting action, or rolling or twisting of the foot such as basketball, tennis, football, soccer and trail running.
Uneven surfaces. Walking or running on uneven surfaces or poor field conditions may increase the risk of an ankle sprain.
Prior ankle injury. Once you’ve sprained your ankle or had another type of ankle injury, you’re more likely to sprain it again.
Poor physical condition. Poor strength or flexibility in the ankles may increase the risk of a sprain when participating in sports.
Improper shoes. Shoes that don’t fit properly or aren’t appropriate for an activity, as well as high-heeled shoes in general, make ankles more vulnerable to injury
The following tips can help you prevent a sprained ankle or a recurring sprain:
Warm up before you exercise or play sports.
Be careful when walking, running or working on an uneven surface.
Use an ankle support brace or tape on a weak or previously injured ankle.
Wear shoes that fit well and are made for your activity.
Minimize wearing high-heeled shoes.
Don’t play sports or participate in activities for which you are not conditioned.
Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility.
Practice stability training, including balance exercises.
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run, jump or push up on your toes.
The structure of the Achilles tendon weakens with age, which can make it more susceptible to injury — particularly in people who may participate in sports only on the weekends or who have suddenly increased the intensity of their running programs.
Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It’s also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends.
The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more-severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting.
You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity.
Your sex. Achilles tendinitis occurs most commonly in men.
Age. Achilles tendinitis is more common as you age.
Physical problems. A naturally flat arch in your foot can put more strain on the Achilles tendon. Obesity and tight calf muscles also can increase tendon strain.
Training choices. Running in worn-out shoes can increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis. Tendon pain occurs more frequently in cold weather than in warm weather, and running on hilly terrain also can predispose you to Achilles injury.
Exercises. Therapists often prescribe specific stretching and strengthening exercises to promote healing and strengthening of the Achilles tendon and its supporting structures.
A special type of strengthening called “eccentric” strengthening, involving a slow let down of a weight after raising it, has been found to be especially helpful for persistent Achilles problems.