Playing high-impact sports, having previous injuries, and wearing high heels are risks for ankle injuries. The best way to prevent ankle injuries is to improve the strength, balance, and flexibility of the muscles around the ankle.
The following are exercises you can do to make your ankles less prone to injury:
Stretching Exercises – These exercises can increase flexibility, which prevent pulled muscles or cramping.
- Flex your toes and hold the position. Then, point your toes and hold. This one is easy and can be done while sitting and watching TV.
- Make a clock with your toes. Flex up, point right, point down, point left, then back to flexing up. Go in circles, in both directions, pausing at each position.
Balance Training Exercises – These exercises can improve balance, which will help you in unsteady situations.
- Yoga Tree Pose: Stand straight up on one leg with the other propped up against your ankle, knee, or inside of the thigh. Spread the toes of your foot on the floor and engage your muscles from the calf down to your toes. Switch legs and repeat.
- Start in a runner’s pose. Lift the knee up to your chest and return to the lunge position. Do several repetitions and then switch sides.
- If you have a slack line available, practice balancing on both feet, then on one foot, and then progress to walking. This will require balance and stability from your core down to your toes.
Strengthening Exercises – These exercises can help support your ankle muscle tissues to prevent overuse injuries.
- With your foot against a heavy and stationary object (like a couch), keep your heel on the floor, then lift your toes and push against the object with the inside of your foot. Turn around and push against the object with the outside of your foot. Then switch to the other foot and do the same. You should feel the muscles on your shin and calves tighten.
- Do some squat jumps, starting with small jumps with the goal being to not slam down on the ground when you land from the jump. Increase the height of the jump as your progress, only to the heights where you can land softly.
Having ankle issues or worried about re-injury? Try some of these exercises, but first consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Carl Ingrassia, DPM at Fords Foot and Ankle Care. You can call us at (732) 738-4441 to make an appointment at our office in Fords, NJ in Woodbridge Township, NJ. Our team is happy serve all patients in the surrounding areas of Edison, Perth Amboy, Metuchen, Rahway, and Linden.