Anyone from a pro basketball player in LA to an office worker in high heels can sprain an ankle. This painful injury needs to heal fully or it could lead to repeated injuries and ankle instability. One way to recondition the joint and regain full use and mobility is to strengthen your ankles. How can you do that? There are two main objectives: keep the joint as flexible as possible, and increase strength in the muscles around it.
Flexibility means the ankle joint can easily move in four ways: pointing toes down, pulling them up toward your knee, pointing toes toward each other, and aiming them away from each other. There are several exercises you can do to work on ankle flexibility, such as rotations, stretching the foot toward you using a towel around the ball of the foot, writing the alphabet in the air with your big toes, and lying down with feet off the edge of a bench or stool and alternately flexing your foot up and pointing it down.
To strengthen your ankles, try one or more of the following exercises to build up the muscles around them:
- Stand on one foot, arms out to the side, for 15 seconds—working up to 60. Once you can do that, try it with your eyes closed. Repeat with other foot.
- Stand on a stair step with the balls of your feet hanging down over the edge and hold for 60 seconds. Then turn to stand with your heels hanging off the edge. Once you can do that for 60 seconds, try slowly rising up and sinking down, holding each position for 10 seconds.
- Seated on the floor with legs straight before you, loop a resistance band around a solid object and the top part of your foot. Pull back against the resistance 20 times with each foot. Next, hold the ends of the band and loop it around the ball of your foot. Press it forward against the resistance 20 times.
For treatment for an injury, or more information on strengthening the joints to prevent ankle sprains, call Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Ladera Ranch, CA at (949) 364-9255 (WALK). We want to help you build strong feet and ankles so you can stay active and enjoy life.