Preventing sprains and strains

There are several ways you can help prevent sprains and strains such as warming up properly before exercising and wearing suitable footwear.

Strengthening and conditioning

Regular stretching and strengthening exercises as part of an overall physical conditioning programme can help reduce your risk of sprains and strains. Regular exercise will help joints stay flexible and reduce the likelihood of injury.

If you are prone to sprains and strains, taping, strapping or wrapping your knees, ankles, wrists or elbows can help while you are recovering from injury and when you first get back into regular activities.

However, for most people, it is best to regard taping, strapping or wrapping as a short-term protective measure. You can protect your joints in the long-term by strengthening and conditioning the muscles around them.

Correct footwear

You should always make sure you wear footwear that supports and protects your feet and ankles whether you are:

  • doing sport
  • at work
  • at home

If you wear high-heeled shoes, you are more likely to sprain your ankle than if you wear flat shoes.

Read more information about choosing sports shoes.

Preventative advice

You can help prevent sprains and strains by following the advice listed below.

  • Warm up properly before you exercise and cool down properly afterwards.
  • Avoid exercising or doing sporting activities when you are tired.
  • Take precautions against falling  keep stairs, walkways, gardens and driveways free of clutter, and in winter put sand or salt on icy spots outside your home.
  • Do not wear shoes that have a worn heel on one side.
  • Avoiding running or walking on uneven surfaces.

Read more information about how to warm up before exercising and how to stretch after exercising.

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