Your ankles are one of the most hardworking parts of your body, despite the fact that very few people tend to overlook them. That is until they sprain an ankle and realize how difficult it is to move around.
In fact, when your ankles are strong, they allow you to be flexible so that you can walk, jump, run, and dance, too. In fact, any movement involving your feet will rely on this joint.
Strong ankles are necessary for active people so that they are able to do sport or exercise without any untoward injuries. But people who are inactive and thus, overweight will also require strong ankles to support the extra weight. These are the reasons why ankle sprains are so common.
Ankle pain and other problems are also common in Australians who have conditions like arthritis and tendonitis. Inactive lifestyles, being overweight, and old age increase the risk of these medical issues and thus, weak or sprained ankles.
If you think you have an ankle sprain or if it hurts in any way, you should immediately talk to a doctor to have it checked. Until it heals, you will need to avoid physical activity. Otherwise, you increase the risk of making the injury even worse.
The Role of Exercise In Strong Ankles
Specific exercises that target the ankles benefit everyone. If you are active, it will prevent sports injuries. If you have had an ankle sprain, it helps you to strengthen them. If you suffer arthritis, you can avoid issues with your ankles. Make sure you include these 5 effective ankle exercises that will keep them strong and happy.
- Peroneal Stretching Or Strengthening
On the outside of the ankle, the peroneal tendons can be found. They are important for support and strength. In fact, athletes who play ball sports, or those who run and dance need to warm them up for at least a minute before their routines.
Doing so is quite easy. All you need to do is to roll gently on the outside of feet and take a minute to walk around. This simple step helps with ankle strength and flexibility.
Lastly, it affects ankle proprioception (or being aware of where the ankle is and what it is doing) in a good way, so that ankle sprains can be avoided.
- Ankle Circles
Doing this exercise will make the muscles around and in the ankle stronger, and also making it more stable. To do it, you need to sit on a chair and lift your right leg, keeping the knee straight.
Move the right foot in a clockwise direction between 10 and 20 times, letting it rest for 5 seconds before raising it again. Then move the foot in the opposite (counterclockwise) direction for 10 to 20 reps as well. Alternate exercising the legs, doing about 3 to 4 sets for every side.
- Dorsiflexion Stretch
It sounds complicated, but dorsiflexion is simply bringing the toes close to the shin. Doing this stretch will keep the tendons and muscles protected.
Start by sitting on the floor, the left leg crossed in your front and the right leg straight. The sole of the left foot should be resting inside the right leg.
Put a band or towel around your right foot’s ball before pulling the toes gently toward you. This stretch can be felt in the entire thigh, the calf, and Achilles tendon. Hold this position for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times before switching to the left leg.
- Write the Alphabet
This is another simple exercise that you can do even on your office desk. All you need to do is to trace out the letters of the alphabet with your big toe while sitting on a chair. Though the exercise is simple, the exercise is challenging for the ankle. Start with capital letters before doing them in lower-case. Switch to the other foot and repeat the exercise.
- Achilles Stretches
As you age, changes in your Achilles tendon will make it more likely to rupture it. This is why regular stretches will do wonders for its flexibility. Start by standing up straight with one leg kept straight and with the heel grounded on the floor.
Push forward the hips while you bend the knee of the leg in front at a 45-degree angle. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds before doing the other leg. Aim for 2 to 4 sets on every leg.
Ankle exercises make this joint strong and prevent injury in the first place, which means there is no reason for you to wait until you feel pain to do these very simple but quite effective moves.