My HormonologyIf you’ve ever sprained your ankle, then you know this injury sounds so innocuous (spurring an unsympathetic chorus of “Nothing’s broken–it’s just a sprain!” from those around you) yet is so painful it can bring tears to your eyes and have you limping in agony for days, even weeks.

Wearing stable footwear that supports your foot and ankle and avoiding sudden awkward movements–such as jerks, twists and jumps–are two ways to lower your risk of spraining an ankle.

And now a new study in the Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine reveals another: Be aware that you’re more prone to ankle sprains during your ovulatory phase–which spans the final two days of your Week 2 and the first day of your Week 3 in the middle of your monthly cycle.

On these days, peaking estrogen loosens the ligaments and muscles that keep your ankle stable and increases “postural sway”–a slight shifting in motion that helps you stay balanced–making it easier to roll your ankle.

So, when choosing footwear on these cycle days, keep in mind that you’re at a greater risk of ankle injuries when you wear high heels and platform shoes–and either pick more stable options or walk more carefully in the elevated shoes you don.

And, when running and playing sports, remember that your ankles are more vulnerable, so consider wearing athletic shoes that provide more ankle support and/or try to pay more attention to how you step.