It is common for runners to find that if they twist their ankle, they are likely to twist it again soon after returning from the initial injury. This could be because of a few reasons, and there are some simple remedies. What’s an ankle twist? Why does the injury repeat itself? The actual injury could be one of a few things. Once you roll your ankle, you could have bruised it, stretched a tendon or ligament, or even torn a ligament. It could be one of a few different tendons or ligaments, and the most common is the lateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Once it has been stretched, it is looser and therefore the stability of your joint is reduced. This is why you repeat the injury easily. If it is torn, then you are in for a long recovery, and will probably not be able to run, let alone repeat the injury. Counter-intuitively, you might have the opposite problem. If you injure your ankle, your muscles around the joint can seize up to protect the injured area. This reduces mobility and could result in a repeated injury as you lack the normal amount of mobility. HKU expert questions continued need for wearing mask while hiking The underlying issue that caused the initial twisting injury might also be the cause of the repeated injury too – such as overtraining, lack of strength, unbalanced strength, lack of stability or mobility, or the wrong shoes. In all cases, the remedies are similar. Too much, too soon It can take longer to get resilient to injuries than it does to get cardiovascular fitness. If you have just started running, do not be lulled into going too hard too soon or you will pick up an injury, like a twisted ankle on the trails. Kid sisters hike Hong Kong, MacLehose Trails to help the homeless The same applies if you have twisted your ankle. Trying to return to running before you have had a chance to heal will cause a retwist. And when you do start running again, ease yourself in and build up your distances slowly and steadily to avoid a repeated injury. Mobility Runners often confuse flexibility and mobility. The former is how far you can stretch, the latter is your range of motion. So, if you can touch your toes, that is flexibility. If you can move your foot in a wide controlled circle from your ankle joint, that is mobility. Mobility is important for runners. If your muscles have seized up after twisting your ankle, you will need to do mobility exercises to prevent a repeat. A simple exercise is rotating your foot in circles, first one way and then the other. Another is to get a resistance band and put it around your toes. With a straight leg, flex your foot forward and return to the original position. You can also flex your foot in other directions. Another exercise is to stand with you toes against the wall and slowly bend your knees until it touches the wall, then return to an upright position. If you are feeling mobile, try with your toes further away from the wall. Try walking back and forth on your heels. Strength and stability Stronger muscles, that are balanced between both legs so neither is compensation, will improve your resilience to injury – and make you faster. Strength exercises may also hasten the healing of your tendons by sending more blood to the affected area. Try heel raises. Stand on your toes and slowly lower your heels to the ground, raising them again just before they touch the floor. Do single leg jumps, trying to stick the landing so there is as little wobble as possible. Romanian dead lifts are also great for running in general and will improve your strength. Lean forward on one leg, lifting the other behind you as you lean. Return to an upright position. Weighted, walking lunges will also improve strength and stability. If you have access to a wobble board, stand on it with one foot, or even try squats on it, to improve strength and stability. Shoes A repeated ankle twist may suggest you are wearing the wrong footwear. Make sure your running shoes are fit for purpose – use trail shoes for trails, for example. Not all shoes are created equally. Even if your shoe design is fine, it might be that they are old. If the trad is worn on the bottom, or if it is too compressed, it might be time to replace your shoes to prevent a repeated injury. When your ankle heals, don’t wear high heels.