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27th of April 2012

Easter weekend saw the annual round hayling island race take place, light winds but glorious sunshine kicked the season off in style for this, and the BSA racing that followed. [more]

Ankle Angst?


Ankle injuries are common in windsurfing, particularly when you enter the twisting spinning world of freestyle trickery.

But no matter what your ability, flexibility and strength around the ankle joint are crucial to prevent injury.


Sprains (ligament tears) and strains (muscle/tendon tears) can be caused by violent twisting or rotation of the foot beyond its normal limits and are common complaints in windsurfing. 


Typical symptoms of sprains and strains include


Inflammation and swelling around the joint 

Pain and tenderness 

Heat and redness 

Instability or inability to put weight through the foot 



Immediately after injury apply the “RICE” principles for the first 24 to 48 hours:

Rest – stop the activity and rest the affected ankle

Ice – apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 15 minutes every two hours

Compression – Bandage the injured area firmly, wrapping above and below the injury

Elevation – lift the injured area above the level of your heart to reduce swelling


Avoid heat, alcohol or massage, which can make the swelling worse 

If the ankle is very painful, swollen and you are unable to move it or put weight on it seek medical advice to rule out fractures

Depending on how bad the injury is recovery usually takes approximately 4-6 weeks 


Rehab and Prevention Tips

Always warm up before windsurfing and stretch out afterwards

Stretching and strengthening exercises help support the joint and prevent future trauma (see below)

Strapping weak joints or using support bandages may be helpful

Make sure your foot straps are the right size so that your feet don’t get stuck – you should be able to see all your toes through the strap and your feet shouldn’t be “wedged” in



11Gastrocs stretch (pic 1) :

Place one foot in front of the other

Push the heel of the back foot into the floor

Hold for 15-20 secs

Repeat on both legs


22Soleus stretch (pic 2):

Place one foot in front of the other

Keeping both knees bent, push the heel of the back foot into the floor

Hold for 15-20 secs

Repeat on both legs



33Hamstrings stretch (pic 3):

With your feet together and keeping your legs straight, bend forward and touch your toes

Hold for 15-20 secs

Repeat on both legs



4a4a4b4bSingle leg squats (pics 4a and 4b):

Stand on one leg

Bend the knee, keeping your heel on the ground then come back up into standing

Repeat 10 times on each leg


55Single leg heel raises (pic 5):

Stand on one leg

Rise up onto your tip toes then slowly lower back down

Repeat 10 times on each leg



66Balance exercises (pic 6):

Practice standing on one leg

Progress to standing on one leg with your foot on a rolled up towel or a cushion

Wobble boards and trampolines are also fun ways to challenge your balance



7a7a7b7b7c7cAgility exercises (pics 7a, 7b and 7c):

Stand with your feet to one side of a rolled up towel

Jump or hop from side to side over the towel











Written by: Gemma Lewis

Date of birth: 17/09/87 

Years windsurfing: 7

Windsurfing level: Instructor and ex-national racer, currently jumping, wavesailing and learning to loop! 

Current Location: Cambridge

Local Windsurf Spot: South coast


Gemma is a qualified physiotherapist with a background in windsurfing. She is currently working for Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge and hopes to specialise in sports injuries and rehabilitation.