Ankle injuries can be troublesome and a recurring threat if not treated and maintained. A single ankle injury can lead to a world of difficulties and limited mobility, as well as increase your risk of additional ankle sprains. Thankfully there are several exercises and techniques that can be used to stabilize your body’s foundation, increase your range of motion, and strengthen the muscles in your ankle and foot.
Exercises to Prevent Ankle Injury
- Towel Stretch – This stretch uses a towel or exercise band to increase the flexibility of the ankles and stretch your calf muscles. While sitting with your legs straight, put a towel or resistance band around the bottom of your feet. Gently begin pulling the towel or band toward your body until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds, then release. Do two sets of 10 on each foot.
- Calf Raise – Affects the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. To perform, you will need a slightly elevated platform, such as a step on a staircase. Keep the balls of your feet on the step, while your heels hover over the edge. Push your heels up and stand on your toes, then lower yourself back down so your heels are just below the step, and repeat.
- Negative Calf Raises – For negative calf raises, lift one leg up and slowly lower your weight back on the remaining heel, being careful not to lose that single-leg balance. Hold for ten seconds then rise.
- Ankle Alphabet – A fantastic mobility technique that is achievable for most people. Find a comfortable seated position and extend one leg. Begin to trace the letters of the alphabet with your big toe, making sure your foot stretches as far as possible. Repeat several times with both legs.
- Heel Raise – Stand in a shoulder-width stance and slightly bend your knees. Bear your weight on one leg while raising your toes on the other, ensuring that your heel is still firmly on the ground. Slowly lower your toes once more, and repeat on the other side. This should be done several times on both legs.
Ensuring Ankle Joint Health
Begin using these exercises frequently in your daily routine, and you may start to see a reduction in pain and swelling. Additional exercises, such as rolling a golf ball or round object below your foot with firm pressure, can also help reduce plantar fasciitis and foot pain. If practice these techniques regularly, you will contribute to sore ankle prevention and reduce the likelihood that a sprain occurs.