Fall is here & the NFL is back in the full swing of games. Football, along with other contact sports like soccer and rugby, are known for high reported cases in foot/ankle injuries. With only a couple weeks in, the NFL has reported nearly 40 injuries foot and ankle related. An article posted online shares the how-to’s in avoiding ankle sprains. 
Research estimates that almost 50% of all ankle sprains are not reported. Though they may be diagnosed as minor ankle sprains, leaving them untreated and playing a sport can cause a worse injury due to the lack of balance affected from the initial injury. Athletes are more likely to sprain or reinjure if muscles are tight and warm-ups are not sought out properly. 
Some actions to decrease the risk of an ankle sprain are:
1. Wear ankle support during activity
2. Stretch calf muscles every day. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds, 2-3 times a day. 
3. Perform a “dynamic warm-up” prior higher level activity. 
Balance is an important skill to have, especially when trying to reduce the risk of an ankle sprain. Here are some balance exercises: 
1. Instead of performing your regular squats on the hard ground, use a piece of foam or try doing them with your eyes closed. At the gym, try step-ups on the BOSU with the soft blue-domed side up to challenge your ankle muscles. 
2. Walk heel-toe with your arms crossed; again, adding foam and/or closing your eyes while doing this activity will further challenge your ankle muscles. 
3. Turn your head in various directions – side to side, up/down, diagonally – while performing sports-specific drills. Believe it or not, this also challenges your balance.

Treatment for your sprained ankle: Reduce and control the swelling by using the RICE principle.

R-rest; rest from sports and try to minimize walking
I-ice; use a cold pack to the injured site for 15-20 minutes at a time, throughout the day
C-compression; use a wrap bandage to control the swelling
E-elevate; leg elevation further reduces swelling, gravity assists the fluid out the ankle and back toward the heart 

If you’re experiencing pain or swelling in your ankle or foot, contact us and we will help you get back on your feet! 

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