Trampolines are generally good for your overall health. The benefits of jumping on a trampoline are fairly well established. These include improved cardiac health, bone strength, core muscle strength, and even brain function.
Yet, people often ask, are trampolines bad for your feet or ankles?
Trampolines are generally good for your feet and ankles, helping to work and strengthen the muscles. However, when two or more people are bouncing, trampolines can be bad for your feet and ankles. The mat can become as hard as concrete, and a greater number of foot and ankle breaks occur.
Let’s look at this in more detail. I’ll also share the answers to other common questions you might have about trampolines and your feet and ankles.
Are Trampolines Bad For Your Feet and Ankles?
Trampolines can be bad for your feet and ankles as injuries can occur. Accidents are more likely to happen when two or more kids are bouncing on a trampoline. A high percentage of these accidents are related to the feet and ankles.
A common trampoline injury is a type of ankle sprain called a closed ankle sprain. This is when some of the ligaments in the ankle are stretched past where they should be. The ligaments will end up stretched, and may even be torn.
More serious trampoline injuries in the foot and ankle include fractures that may be so severe that they break open the skin.
In 2015, Dr Luke Gauthier published a Canadian study, where he reviewed 11 types of trampoline-induced ankle fractures. He found that ankle fractures are so common because the mat of the trampoline can become so hard that it is “equivalent to falling from a building.”
When one person is jumping on the trampoline, the mat is flexible and stretchy as they first land. The mat then becomes very hard, almost solid, as the jump extends the mat surface down.
When only one person is bouncing, this change towards a harder surface doesn’t matter. But when two people are bouncing, and the second person lands on the mat whilst it is still hard, the second person is at risk of landing on a surface that is as hard as concrete. This is when ankle and foot injuries are most likely to occur.
How To Avoid Trampoline Ankle
Trampoline ankle is the fracture that occurs when a kid bounces on the trampoline, and has a medial malleolus fracture.
To avoid trampoline ankle, the single most important factor is to ensure only one person is jumping on the trampoline at a time.
In the Canadian study by Dr Gauthier (2016), he studied eleven ankle injuries in kids, and found that nine of them had occurred whilst more than one kid was bouncing on the trampoline at a time. He also found that two of these kids had an injury that was so bad it caused deformities and growth arrest in the affected ankle. This left those kids with a permanent limp.
Other studies have found that when two kids are bouncing, the injury almost always occurs in the younger child.
Are Trampolines Good For Your Feet?
Trampolines are also good for your feet as the bones and muscles are strengthened. Additionally, the joints flexed by being actively used whilst jumping.
As you land, the foot and ankle muscles have to make dozens, if not hundreds, of micro-adjustments to ensure that you keep your balance. You also then have to flex your foot using your ankles and foot muscles to extend your foot for the next bounce up.
Even during a 10 minute session on a trampoline, it’s easy to see how your feet and ankles, and in fact, your entire core, gets a great work-out.
How Do You Protect Your Feet On A Trampoline?
Given the potential for serious foot and ankle injuries, it’s a good idea to take appropriate precautions, and try to protect your feet.
The best way to protect your feet on a trampoline is to have only one person jumping at a time. You would also jump with bare feet and warm up before starting. Whilst this is true for most trampolines, if you are jumping on an indoor two-string trampoline, you should wear gymnastic trampoline shoes.
When bouncing in bare feet rather than socks, you’ll also be able to stop yourself from generating as much static electricity.
Gymnastic trampoline shoes can protect your feet from the jump strings found on a high-performance gymnastic trampoline. As you are doing jumps, twists and turns, you are landing at odd angles. You’ll enjoy the grip that gymnastic shoes can provide on the pads. You’ll also benefit from the full foot flexibility given by the soft leather under the arch of the foot.
Click here to read more about why shouldn’t you wear shoes on a trampoline.
Trampolines are generally good for improving strength and flexibility in the foot and ankle. However, when accidents do occur in the ankle, these can be severe and have permanent consequences. These are more likely to occur when two or more kids are bouncing at once.