Nick, Stu

Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are common in sports, especially in winter sports such as rugby, netball, and soccer. But you can reduce the risk of injury by taking some simple precautions.

Use strapping or a brace if you have sprained your ankle before

If you have sprained an ankle before, getting your ankle strapped (or wearing an ankle brace), will greatly reduce your chances of re-spraining your ankle. This is particularly important if your previous ankle sprain was recent.

Warm up prior to training and playing

Get to training and games early so you have time to do a thorough warm-up. If you are well warmed up you are less likely to get injured. Warming up is particularly important when it is wet and cold through the middle of winter. ACC’s SportSmart website (, has some excellent warm-up routines specific for rugby, netball, league and touch rugby.

Condition your ankles for your sport

Doing some drills at training that are specific for your sport to improve your balance and strength will help reduce the chances of foot and ankle sprains. An example of one of these drills would be regularly balancing on one leg with your eyes closed for 30 – 60 seconds to improve balance. At Olympic Physiotherapy we can design a specific programme of exercises to help you improve your balance and strength specifically for your sport. Netballers may like to visit Netball New Zealand’s website (, which contains some excellent drills and training advice with regards to injury prevention.

 Choose shoes that are specifically for your sport

Wearing shoes that are designed for the specific demands of your sport is very important. Cross trainers are an overall good choice, however, it is best to use shoes designed for your sport. Nike Free Runners are not sports shoes!

Replace your shoes regularly

You should have started each season with a new pair of shoes, and replace them during the season if they show signs of wear and tear.

Listen to your body

If you experience foot and ankle pain at training or during a game, stop until the pain subsides. If the pain persists, you should ice the painful area and make an appointment at Olympic Physiotherapy for assessment of your injury and appropriate treatment before returning to your sport.


Busyness has slipped into the driving seat with modern day living. While we can get immediate validation from its short term benefits we also get tiredness, a lack of personal time and an incessant noise in our minds. Many of us feel like we are missing out on the very quality of life that we are striving so hard to achieve. To understand how busyness is taking grab of many of our lives we need to mention the physiology at play. On one hand we have the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS is the accelerator of the body and known colloquially as the fight or flight response. It is this response that is in play when we are consumed by busyness. In contrast, the PNS, which is known as the rest or digest response, is the brake that activates all restorative functions of the body, creativity and emotional resilience. Ideally we find a happy medium in between but in reality one system usually prevails at the expense of the other. Busyness is not the main reason why people get injured and sick. Busyness can be highly productive and satisfying and is often the catalyst that can draw the best out of us. People instinctively know this, because there is a defensive argument where people assertively claim that they thrive on stress and love the fast lane. They are right. The issue is that busyness can become so entrenched that it can turn into busyholism. This is when a person is unable to activate the PNS and restricts themselves of the necessary restorative processes that life in the fast lane entails. It can be an addiction for people and letting go requires a conscious effort and a fight. There are four main areas which research has shown will activate the PNS; youth, positive thinking (mindfulness), exercise and rest. Moderate exercise is enough to have a positive effect on every part of your life and is not the poor cousin to ‘real’ exercise. Intense exercise actually attracts the busyholics. Intense exercise can be addictive and can reset our perception on normal exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 5 days a week of 30 minutes of moderate activity such as brisk walking for healthy systems all round. The danger signs of busy holism (When the oil light goes on in your car) -fatigue, mood changes, sleep problems, an upset golf swing, a social blip, a sense of spiritual loss, or a negative flare-up of your own personal idiosyncrasies. A sore throat or a mouth ulcer is an early danger sign (no water for windscreen wipers). This is easy to trivialise. Severe chest pain is a late danger sign and like when the oil light flashes. This needs to be listened to and the appropriate action undertaken. A classic example of a person who is investing too much on the SNS is the over training athlete who is prone to injury, fatigue, depression, weaker immune systems and poor sleeping patterns. Rest is not the occasional cat nap or the active rest of something like gardening-true rest comes from a chemistry that is activated from the inside out, through changes in thought, posture and breath. Rest hasn’t been made a priority. To conclude this article I would like to state the benefits of the PNS
  • Replenishes energy stores,
  • Releases hormones that repair the wear and tear on your body.
  • Allows the full expression of your immune system, digestion and reproductive organs.
  • It activates your thinking for new levels of innovation and creativity and opens up pathways that allow us to process emotions in a positive way.
  • Improves memory.
  • You will be less reactive and easier to live and work with, with an appreciation of the bigger picture instead of your immediate concerns.
References Rest: A science and an Art by Ros Broome.

Call Now Button