Some of the same measures you take to relieve ankle problems, such as losing weight or wearing a brace, can also help prevent ankle pain and injuries.

Here are some other tips for reducing your risk of ankle problems:

Be safe with sports. Using the right gear can reduce your risk of ankle injuries during sports. For example, research has shown that the use of breakaway bases – bases that are specially designed to dislodge when baseball players slide into them – significantly reduces foot and ankle injuries in recreational baseball and softball games. Several studies have shown that semirigid ankle braces can help prevent sprained ankles in high-risk sports, such as basketball and soccer. An even safer option is to choose low-impact sports, such as biking or swimming or other aquatic exercises.

Select proper footwear. Spiked heels offer little stability, and sandals and flip-flops do nothing to protect the heel or control pronation (an inward rolling motion of the foot) that can become excessive with ankle arthritis. An enclosed shoe with a heel no higher than one-and-a-half inches offers the best protection. Shoe inserts and insoles not only provide shock absorption, but also keep your ankle from rolling.

Sit right. Avoid sitting with your feet crossed behind you and pointed down. This puts pressure on your toes that can lead to ankle stiffness and soreness

Condition your ankles. Strengthening the muscles of the lower leg through resistance band exercises will help keep your ankles stable and injury free. To increase flexibility and range of motion, try calf stretches against a wall, or, in a seated position, write out the letters of the alphabet using your feet.