Trails are some of the nicest places to run, especially when they’re as well-kept as the Medina River Trail in south San Antonio. The beautiful scenery makes it an interesting treat and a nice way to shake up your running routine, instead of sticking to your neighborhood or nearest track. This particular paved path winds through woodlands while paralleling the Medina River, with a few slopes to challenge runners. Slopes can make for good training, but they also increase your risk of a sprained ankle. Even if you don’t run this particular trail, runners still risk ankle injuries—but you can take steps to avoid damage.
Runners put a lot of stress on their ankles. Part of the natural pronation cycle when you strike the ground and push off again uses the outside of the foot in a process called supination. Too much supination could roll and sprain your ankle easily. Running on uneven trails, worn out shoes, or switching direction too sharply can all stress the outside of the joint and contribute to a sprain, too.
Taking a few preventative measures, however, can go a long way in avoiding a sprained ankle:
Strengthen Your Ankles – Balance exercises and the “towel twist” work the muscles and connectors that stabilize the ankle joint, strengthening them. To do the towel twist, set your bare foot on a towel on the ground. Scrunch the towel with your toes, plant your heel firmly, and twist your foot inward. Wear the Right Shoes – Choose running shoes that meet your arch needs, so your feet absorb shock correctly and are less likely to over-supinate. Replace Old Pairs – Worn out shoes mess up biomechanics and may increase your risk for ankle problems, so always replace old pairs. Limit Time on Hilly, Uneven Trails – Lots of hills and uneven trails increase your risk for sprains. Try to run on flatter surfaces more often and keep uneven routes like the Medina River Trail as a special challenge.
Listen carefully to your body, especially when you’re running. Don’t ignore signs that you have an ankle problem. Instead, take care of your joints now so you can still run later! Dr. Darren Silvester and the whole Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic team in Pleasanton, TX, are happy to help you protect your lower limbs. Call (830) 569-3338 to make an appointment with us today.