Exercises to Strengthen Ankles
Strong ankles are more important than you might think. The ankle is a highly complicated joint, and the bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that compose and support it have to withstand a great deal of stress with every step. Running and jumping, in fact, places a force equal to several times your body weight on your feet and ankles each and every time you land! If your muscles aren’t up to the challenge, the result can be pain, wobbliness, and increased risk of injuries such as sprains, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, and more.
Fortunately, a number of stretches and exercises can help you restore stability to the ankles. These fall into three broad categories: mobility exercises, strength exercises, and balance exercises.
Mobility exercises are designed to improve range of motion and reduce stiffness. These typically involve sitting on the floor and pointing your toes up and down (plantar dorsiflextion and flexion, respectively), side to side (inversion and eversion), and calf stretches.
Strengthening exercises usually require the assistance of either a resistance band, partner, and/or a sturdy wall or piece of furniture. Loop the band around the ball of your foot and grab both ends, then repeat the flexion, eversion, and inversion exercises while providing resistance. For the dorsiflexion exercise you’ll need to tie the resistance band around a sturdy object (like a heavy table leg) or have someone hold it for you.
Finally, balance exercises help you recover your stability and strengthen stabilizing muscles. The simplest such exercise is standing on one leg. As strength and balance improve, you can increase the difficulty by closing your eyes, folding your arms, or standing on an unstable surface, like a towel, pillow, or wobble board.
If you’ve recently sustained an ankle injury, are recovering from an ankle surgery, or are simply feeling wobbly and unbalanced when you walk, give Dr. Jason Wilks a call. We provide conservative care focused on improving ankle health and strength and can help you build a treatment and therapy program to help you get back on your feet with confidence. Call the Wilks Foot Healthy Center today at (541) 673-0742 to schedule your appointment.