All it takes to fall out of your training routine for six months is an awkward stumble on a root or a rock while enjoying the views of nature. However, this is also true for urban runners, although to a slightly lesser extent.
Any bump in the trail carries potential hazards for our ankle joints. Indeed, after a normal sprain, the ankles remain weak for about six months and you will have to make serious adjustments to your trail or marathon training program.
According to statistics, about 10-20% of all sports injuries are ankle sprains. Accordingly, in swimming this percentage tends to zero, and in sports associated with running and jumping probably exceeds the same twenty percent.
Skiers have the same possible problem, but it is related to the rotation of the foot due to sudden braking or unsuccessful entry into a turn. A large lever, the role of which is played by the ski, adds to the danger.
This frequency of injury is due to the anatomical structure and function of the ankle joint. It is formed by three bones – the tibia, fibula, and talus of the foot. These bones are fixed to each other by three groups of ligaments:
- Первая группа – это внутренние связки между берцовыми костями.
- Вторая – это внешний и внутренний слои дельтовидной связки.
- И третья – таранно-малоберцовые (передняя и задняя) и пяточно-малоберцовая связки.
Растяжение – это не растяжение
The outer ligament group is the most susceptible to injury. However, a sprain is an incorrect label for an injury because the ligaments do not have the elasticity that we would like them to have.
When the foot is turned up, there is a trivial tear in the ligamentous tissue, and the degree of damage and, consequently, the recovery time (scarring) depends only on the extent of the tear. Fortunately, in most cases the integrity of the ligament is preserved, and only the individual fibers are destroyed.
In some cases, ligament damage is maximal, which is indicated as a torn ankle ligament and often correlates with severe dislocation or fracture of joints or even bones.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine published data showing that failure to pass a one-legged balance test (SLB) increases the risk of ankle injuries by more than twice as much as those who SLB test successfully.
For the self-test, you need to stand barefoot on a flat surface on one foot with your eyes closed for 10 seconds. Stand up straight, and the elevated foot should not touch the supporting foot (this is important). If you don’t feel a lot of sway and your balance is stable, the test is considered successful.
In most cases, experts attribute injuries caused by ankle inversion to loss of proprioception. Therefore, if your brain is not well aware at a given moment of where your ankle is and what it is doing, it is difficult for it to determine how it should respond. Visual control of the surface and leg movements is indispensable in this case and comes to the forefront.
The classic consequence of sprained ankle ligaments is pain, the severity of which depends on the degree of injury and limping. In case of a pronounced tear there is soft tissue swelling and slight swelling around the ankle.
A complete transverse ligament rupture, along with severe pain and swelling, results in blueness of the skin, hematoma, hemarthrosis (accumulation of blood in the ankle joint cavity), and inability to move independently. Along with these signs, abnormal mobility of the foot is noted.
Treatment and Recovery
There are many options, ranging from vodka (but not inside, but as a compress) and milk for a slight sprain, to surgery for a rupture.
As practice shows, if there is only a slight sprain, the best remedy is time and, of course, limiting the load. On average, the limp lasts up to two weeks, after which you can very carefully work on the leg with running exercises.
When you need to reduce pain, ice is recommended. And nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help to reduce swelling. But I do not recommend them without a special need.
You can immobilize the ankle with an improvised ankle brace – a plank bandaged to the shin. However, this bandage should ideally cover not only the shin and ankle, but the knee as well.
Оптимальный вариант – это использование ленты для фиксации суставов или спортивного бандажа при выезде на трейловые трассы. Да и в любых других условиях тоже.
Another nuance that is more addressed to beginner runners is the careful use of maximum cushioning sneakers with thick soles. High elevation of the foot above the bearing surface always reduces stability on landing and increases leverage if the foot accidentally wrenches.
Among the trail running shoes are necessarily a model with a sole design that reduces the likelihood of injury, that is, including elements that stabilize the lateral part of the foot.
Unfortunately, doing physical exercises and gymnastics, contrary to the wishes of various fashionable fitness magazines, will not strengthen the ankle ligaments. Moreover, frequent tears reduce their strength, like the Achilles. That is why it is not recommended to run in the forest or in the mountains at night without a flashlight.