The Shocking School Injury Statistics
There are millions of high school athletes in the country. While some see sport as a pastime, for others, athletics are a passion and a career path. With the high intensity of high school sports today, foot and ankle injuries are common. Lower extremity injuries happen in as many as 16% of high school athletes. Serious injuries can derail a young prospect’s career. With the right care, athletes can perform better and avoid damage.
Why you should step up your ankle game
Foot and ankle flexibility often gets neglected. However, sturdy ankles can withstand sports collisions, improve endurance, and extend careers. The ligaments and muscles in the foot and ankle also help with speed and explosiveness. High school athletes should try these 3 foot and ankle stretches for better performance.
1) Flex that ankle
An ankle flexion exercise helps loosen the ligaments in the foot, preparing for the next event. First, sit on the floor with the legs straight out. Flex the ankles, so the toes head towards the knees. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this for 10-15 reps before each game.
2) Get the ball rolling
Balls aren’t only for playing sports. Tennis balls, golf balls, or lacrosse balls can be a handy tool for foot stretching. Sit with the tennis ball under the left foot. Roll the ball from the heel to the toe ten times, then switch to the right foot. This exercise can reduce the chances of foot injuries like plantar fasciitis.
3) Step it up
Find a nearby step or ledge to stand with the heels off the edge. Lower the heels down in a controlled motion. Hold the position for as long as possible, then return to the starting position. This exercise stretches the muscles and ligaments in the foot, ankle, and calf. Try 10 reps before playing sports or 3-5 times weekly.
Build healthy habits young
Take the time to perform simple ankle and foot stretches before any game. Stretching could be the difference between a long career and long-term injuries. High school athletes should also take time for rest and recovery. Most doctors would advise that bones, muscles, and ligaments are still growing. Excessive wear and tear at a young age could be costly. Speak with a coach or doctor for the best foot and ankle exercises to stay safe.