Preventing Ankle Sprains Part 2

On Wednesday, we had a great post from David Lasnier. If you missed it, you should definitely check it out. Link below:

3 Tips to Prevent Ankle Sprains

As a refresher, David’s three tips were:

1) Keep your hips inside of your outside foot

The first tip David made about keeping your hips inside of your outside foot when you transition is a huge point that all athletes should learn. Think of it as keep your center of gravity within your base of support. EVERY rolled ankle I’ve seen during a cutting maneuver is because of a failure to control hip position. For the hockey crowd, this is also the #1 reason people fall over the edge of a slideboard. It’s important that athletes are taught to load their hips during transitional movements. Not only will this decrease their risk of ankle sprains, it will also make them more efficient and explosive.

2) Strengthen your gluteus medius

As David noted, having sufficient strength in your hip abductors (muscles on the outside of your butt) will help you control your hips during ALL movements (linear, lateral, and transitional). Having sufficient strength in these muscles also helps minimize your risk to several knee injuries. If this muscle group isn’t strong enough and if the strength isn’t trained in proper movement patterns, your knees will cave in during landings and transitional movements. If nothing else, it will be excessive stress on various structures throughout your knee (e.g. lateral meniscus). Maintaining sufficient hip abductor strength is essential for all athletes.

3) Get rid of Nike Shox and other high-heeled shoes

My friend Eric Cressey once joked that everytime someone bought Nike Shox, a baby seal was clubbed. Of course, that’s ridiculous. We now know that TWO baby seals are clubbed for each Nike Shox purchase. Three reasons why:

1) They put you into a significant amount of ankle plantarflexion. Over time, you could LOSE dorsiflexion range of motion, which has significance for a ton of athletic movement patterns, including sprinting, lunging, and squatting.

2) Related to David’s point, they make your foot-to-ground contact less stable and therefore increase the risk of you rolling an ankle. Related to my above point, the ankle joint is significantly less stable in plantarflexion than dorsiflexion. This simply gives your ankle an easier path to roll when cutting.

3) If I told you to squat as much weight as you could and gave you the choice to do it while standing on an Olympic lifting platform or on couch cushions, what would you choose? Humor me. You’d choose the olympic platform (I hope). The couch cusions would make your surface less stable and would dampen the force you produce downward. Both of these things result in a decreased ability to express force production (e.g. make you weaker). David and I like Nike Frees. If you’re doing a lot of running, it may be worth picking up a pair of shoes with slightly more cushioning, but NOT a huge heel lift!

To your continued health and success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. My very good friend and old teammate Pete Gross is running in the Boston Marathon this year. As you may know, most competitors need to raise some cash in order to run. Pete was an outstanding hockey player and one of the best captains I’ve ever played for. If you’re feeling giving and can spare a few bucks to help out a member of our hockey world, I’d consider it a personal favor if you donated to Pete’s cause here: Thanks!

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