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: www.firstgiving.com/petergross. Thanks!

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Since I was away this weekend, I asked David Lasnier to put together another post for us. He has three great tips for you on how to prevent ankle sprains while performing movements that involve cuts or sharp direction changes. This is really one of those areas where a lot of people get hurt WHILE training, which is generally unacceptable.  The first point in particular is a simple coaching cue that we use A LOT at Endeavor that athletes understand and can almost instantly reduce their risk of ankle sprains.

3 Tips to Prevent Ankle Sprains by David Lasnier

Ankle sprains are unfortunately a very frequent injury in a number of sports.  There might be a variety of reasons why they happen.  I am not here to tell you I can prevent every ankle sprain from happening or that I can explain the origin of each and every one of these injuries.  However I can give you 3 tips that you can start applying today to lower the risk of that injury happening to you.

1) Keep your hips inside of your outside foot. When making a cut on the field or on the court, you are generally loading your outside leg before pushing off that same leg in a different direction.  Doing so, you want to make sure that your bodyweight doesn’t travel outside your support leg.  That means you want to stay low and you want your outside hip to stay inside of your outside ankle.  The picture below shows how you want to keep your base of support (your hips) inside your ankle.

Hockey Training-Agility Cut Good

When your hips do travel over your ankle, it shifts your weight to the outside of your foot and increases the chance of your ankle going into inversion (rolling your ankle).  The majority of ankle sprains happen with inversion at the ankle.

Hockey Training-Agility Cut Bad Hockey Training-Agility Cut Bad Ankle

2) Strengthen your gluteus medius. Your gluteus medius is one of the most important hip abductor muscles and in most people it is fairly weak.  You may think: what the hell does my gluteus medius have to do with changes of direction in sports?  When you plant your foot in the ground to make a cut, the momentum continues to make your body travel in the same direction you were going.  So, at some point you need to decelerate your bodyweight first, in order to transition that speed and momentum in a different direction.  The gluteus medius, along with the other abductors at the hips, are going to be responsible for decelerating your body and prevent your hips and upper body from travelling past your ankles.  If your gluteus medius is not strong enough to prevent that deceleration, your hips have more of a chance of going past your ankle and therefore, your ankle going into inversion.  One of the best exercises to strengthen your gluteus medius is the lateral mini-band walk, which we use quite a lot at Endeavor.

Hockey Training-Lateral MiniBand Walk

3) Get rid of those Nike Shox (or any other high heel sneakers you’re wearing). With these kinds of sneakers, your heels are elevated over an inch off the ground.  What happens when you plant your foot in the ground for a cut and the momentum of your body continues to travel in the same direction when your heel is elevated more than an inch in a sneaker?  The momentum will make your foot move in your sneaker and off that high sole, which is going to take your ankle into inversion and increase the risk of sprain.  Your best bets include: Nike Frees, Vibram 5 fingers or any cross-trainer shoes with a thin sole.

Hopefully if you’re not already applying these tips, you will start today.  These 3 simple tips will greatly decrease your risk of ankle sprain.

David Lasnier

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