Filthy Fitness

Injury Prevention 101: Lower Extremity

Three miles into last year’s Mud Run in Jacksonville I stepped on a rock and sprained my right ankle. I went down hard but fortunately I was able to get up and finish the race. I’m convinced that the combination of my ankle strengthening exercises, compression socks and proper shoes saved both my ankle ligaments and my race day.

Here’s some of my sports medicine tips to help you prevent lower extremity injuries to keep you healthy and ready to play in the mud.

Preventing Ankle Sprains — Include easy barefoot agility drills on grass/sand, side shuffles, figure 8’s, and on-hands-and-feet crawling into your weekly workout routine. Performing these exercises 1-2 times per week is a great way to strengthen the ligaments and tendons associated with your ankles.

Preventing Muscle Strains – Adding soft tissue rollers, yoga/pilates and massage therapy to your routine will help keep your quads, hamstrings and calves healthy. Getting in the habit of elevating your legs while pumping your ankle after all of your hard workouts is a simple way to accelerate the recovery of your legs.

Smart Mudder Supplies – Calf- high compression socks, high-top water-friendly shoes with extra ankle stabilizing straps and performance compression shorts are supplies of the smart athlete interested in avoiding injuries.

Mike Ryan,PT,ATC,PES is the Head Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL and a 6 time Ironman triathlete.  Mike is the founder of

, a free sports medicine resource dedicated to keeping mature athletes healthy & active.