AN­KLE

Men's Health (Singapore) - - HEALTH -

[TYPE OF JOINT: HINGE]

The an­kle is highly sta­ble in a neu­tral stand­ing po­si­tion. But in a down­ward­flexed, on-your­toes po­si­tion, the joint de­pends more on sup­port from in­jury-prone lig­a­ments and ten­dons. TOP THREAT: SPRAIN

WHAT IT IS:

A tear in one of the lig­a­ments— usu­ally on the out­side of the an­kle—that sup­ports the joint. Se­vere sprains that leave the an­kle un­sta­ble may even­tu­ally dam­age the joint’s bones and car­ti­lage.

CAUSE:

Stretch­ing the lig­a­ment be­yond its lim­its, usu­ally by rolling the foot as you walk or run on an un­even sur­face, mak­ing a cut­ting move, or step­ping on some­one’s foot. Just a month ahead of Por­tu­gal’s 2018 World Cup bid, star for­ward Cris­tiano Ron­aldo sprained his an­kle and had to leave the game. “Out­side of sports, the most com­mon sce­nario for men is rolling the foot while go­ing down a step,” says Rocco Monto, M.D., spokesman for the Amer­i­can Academy of Or­thopaedic Sur­geons.

TREAT­MENT:

Rest and com­press the an­kle, pos­si­bly with help from a brace. Re­hab will build sup­port­ing mus­cles and in­crease bal­ance with ex­er­cises like stand­ing on one foot with eyes closed— im­por­tant for pre­vent­ing re­peat sprains due to an­kle in­sta­bil­ity. Surgery to re­con­struct the lig­a­ment and brace the an­kle is rarely needed.

DE­FENSE:

Build calf mus­cles with ex­er­cises like calf raises to in­crease sup­port around the an­kle and im­prove bal­ance. “They’re like stir­rups that hold the an­kle in,” says Dr. Monto.

WATCH OUT!

It’s im­por­tant to keep bro­ken an­kle­bones im­mo­bile, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. “You want the joint to bear weight be­cause that gen­er­ates elec­tri­cal fields that stim­u­late the bone to heal,” Dr. Monto says. Fig­ure on an ac­tive re­cov­ery, not a rest­ful one.

HINGE Ad­join­ing bones flex to­ward or ex­tend away from each other in a swing­ing mo­tion along an axis. Ul­trasmooth ar­tic­u­lar car­ti­lage be­tween the bones re­duces fric­tion as they move against each other.

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