Navigating Ankle Instability for an Active Summer

With summer in full swing and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions allowing us to reemerge from our homes, many of us are looking forward to returning to our favorite sports and outdoor activities. But as we dive back into these physical activities, it’s essential to pay attention to our bodies, especially our ankles, which often bear the brunt of increased activity. One common issue that can impact our summer fun is ankle instability.

Ankle instability is a condition generally characterized by a recurring “giving way” of the lateral (outside) part of the ankle. This condition can affect anyone but is usually seen in individuals who have experienced multiple ankle sprains or those with naturally high arches or congenital laxity.

Sports that involve cutting—where athletes need to pivot or rapidly change directions—are often the ones where those with ankle instability feel the greatest discomfort or lack of confidence. This can include sports like soccer, football, basketball, tennis, and pickle ball, or even outdoor activities such as hiking on rough terrains.

As we venture back into these activities after a long period indoors due to the pandemic, it’s crucial to understand our limits and gradually increase our levels of activity. This approach can help prevent unexpected incidents, including ankle sprains, which may lead to or worsen ankle instability.

When it comes to addressing ankle instability, regular and proper exercises, and physical therapy are typically the first line of defense. Strengthening the muscles around your ankles and improving balance and flexibility can significantly reduce the risk of future sprains or injuries.

Dr. Goldberg, a specialist in Foot and Ankle Surgery at Optim Orthopedics, emphasizes the importance of prevention, awareness, and proper recovery protocols. “The end goal,” he says, “is to achieve a stable ankle that you trust to do whatever you want, whether it be hiking with your family or playing sports.”

Surgery is typically considered as the last option when other treatment methods haven’t produced the desired results. However, if it becomes necessary, advancements in medical technology now allow for more effective surgical repairs, often leading to quicker recoveries and a speedy return to physical activities.

So, as you gear up for a summer filled with activity, remember to listen to your body and take care of your ankles. If you’re experiencing discomfort or have concerns about ankle instability, don’t hesitate to take action. Contact Dr. Goldberg at Optim Orthopedics at 912-644-5300.

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