Ankle injuries are a common threat for a variety of athletes, including those who play baseball. Hurting your ankle can leave you with a bruise or cut that limits your speed, while more serious injuries could potentially keep you out of your team's lineup for several weeks. A podiatrist is the right healthcare professional to see for any type of ankle injury that you suffer during a baseball game, but you'll decrease your likelihood of having to make this appointment if you take a series of steps to protect your ankles. Here are some strategies that you can employ:
Tape Your Ankles
Ankle taping is an effective way to reduce your risk of rolling over on an injury and suffering a sprain or a strain of any degree. Baseball players often tape their ankles for support; even a few layers of tape around your heel and up over your ankle can give you the support you need without compromising your flexibility. At higher levels of the game, a trainer will do this for you. At lower levels, you'll need to learn how to tape your ankles yourself.
Wear High-Top Cleats
Many baseball players favor low-top cleats because they're lighter and provide more freedom, which can especially be ideal if you're a fast runner or play a position such as centerfield in which you need to cover a lot of ground. However, high-top cleats are advisable because of their ankle protection. In addition to lacing up higher to limit the risk of rolling or twisting an ankle, the padding that these cleats provide can lower the risk of a serious injury if someone slides into your ankle foot first while you're playing an infield position.
Use Shorter Spikes
Baseball cleats are available in many styles, including with spikes of different lengths. Longer spikes provide a high degree of traction, which can be helpful if you're playing after it's rained and the grass and infield dirt is a little slicker than usual. However, the risk of longer spikes is that they can get caught in the ground and won't come out as quickly as shorter spikes. This can mean that your foot stays stuck for a fraction of a second while your body moves in a different direction, which could cause you to twist your ankle. Some players seek to avoid ankle injuries by wearing cleats that are outfitted with shorter spikes.
Contact a company like Elkhorn Foot and Ankle Clinic PLLC for more information and assistance.