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Pamper your ankles – they deserve it
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Health News of Friday, 12 July 2013

Source: Kojo Cobba Essel

Pamper your ankles – they deserve it

Every part of the human body is unique and it makes one marvel at the wisdom of the “architect”. While watching the recent football fiesta I began to appreciate the ankle joint even more. This joint has nothing in common with your mother’s brother (uncle) except for the way they are pronounced. Imagine the twists and turns it goes through, the trauma it experiences both intentional and accidental and the weight some of them have to bear and yet they remain resilient most of the time.
More grease to the ankles of our footballers, they did not let the players down. In case you have forgotten where the ankle is, it can be found at the point where the foot and the long bones of the leg meet. It is an amazing combination of bones, ligaments and cartilage. We certainly can break (fracture) a bone or more at the joint or even totally crush it into multiple pieces. We may move a bone out of the joint (dislocation) but almost everyone of us has sprained this joint to a certain degree at some point in life.
Ankle sprains are very common and they occur when a ligament connecting the bones or cartilage of the ankle is ruptured or torn. Depending on the way you manage such a sprain it could become an “Achilles heel” for the rest of your life.
Should you or someone you know sprain an ankle (even if you consider it insignificant), adopt R.I.C.E after all it’s a staple for many of us;
R – Rest the ankle
I – apply Ice but not directly to the skin. Opt for ice instead of heat within the first 72 hours of a sprain
C – Compress the joint with a bandage
E – Elevate or raise the joint to avoid or reduce swelling.

We sometimes unknowingly cause harm to our ankle joint but at other times we persist in traumatizing this joint even when a gun is pointed to our head to stop. Our ladies in 12-inch “pencil” heels can describe this best. Kindly pamper your ankles. They may need extra attention if you fall into any of the categories below:
1. You have a previous injury of the joint
2. You have weak or imbalanced muscles
3. Inappropriate or worn-out shoes find their way to your feet
4. Being overweight – putting more pressure on the joint than its maker/designer intended
5. Walking on uneven surfaces – I must confess we do have many of these.
Physical activity is a life saver and it holds the keys to improving ankle health:
1. Maintain and improve range of movement – try it out now. You know all the movements that are possible at the ankle joint, use it or lose it.
2. Improve the strength and muscular endurance of the ankle joint.
Try out these exercises twice a week and make sure you at least walk in addition;
1. Seated ankle circles – unlike neck circles, which is criminal we are encouraged to sit comfortably, lift foot off the ground and draw circles in the air with the movements at the ankle joint
2. Seated gas pedal – even if you do not drive this is a good chance to pretend to be driving. Fix your heel to the ground and move the front of your foot down as if you are stepping on a car accelerator or brake. Press down and release several times
3. Heel cord stretch – fix heel to the ground once more with rest of the foot of the ground but this time move the toes towards the ankle and feel the stretch in the tendon
4. Seated foot inward/outward
Start the final half of the year on a great note, walk with us on Saturday July 20th from Cocoa House in Accra to CFAO in Airport City. We start at 6am prompt. Cease the opportunity to pacify your ankle for taking it for granted all these years and surely you may invite your uncle.

Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club

*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.

Thought for the week – Do not knowingly or unknowingly show contempt to your ankle, pamper it and it will serve you faithfully.
1. Fitness Therapy. 3rd Edition. Dr. Karl Knopf

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