Ankle injuries can happen to anyone whether you’re an athlete or not. You may imagine ankle sprains happening on a football field, basketball court, or while running, but it can just as easily happen when you’re walking your dog, or going for a light stroll on the sidewalk. Any slight misstep can cause your ankle to be sprained and once it happens, you’re stuck hobbling around, or chair-ridden for at least a few days. To help prevent this, here are five exercises you can do at home to help strengthen your ankles.
- Calf Raises – This exercise does double duty. Not only does it help shape your calves, it also helps strengthen your ankles by working the muscles that support the ankle joint. To do a proper calf raise, stand with your feet apart (about the width of your hips) and raise your heels as you count to 5 until you are on your tiptoes. Hold the position for another 5 seconds, then, lower your heels slowly back down. Try to do at least 10. You can do these while watching TV.
- Lateral Hops – Draw an imaginary vertical line (or put a piece of tape on the floor.) Hop on one foot from the left to the right over the line for at least 30 seconds. Take a quick 5-second break and switch to the other foot. This exercise helps train your ankles to react more quickly to fast lateral motions so that you might be able to catch yourself before your ankle gets sprained.
- Walking on your Heels – Lift your toes off of the ground so that you are balanced on your heels. Keep your feet facing forward as you take 15-20 steps forward, turn around and walk normally. Repeat as many times as you like. This exercise strengthens the front of the ankle and as an added bonus, helps strengthen your feet.
- One-Legged Stand – This is as simple as it sounds. Balance on one leg for 30 seconds to a minute. Once you’re done, switch legs. This exercise helps your overall balance, which is especially important in preventing ankle sprains.
- Light Squat Jumps – Get into partial/quarter squat position. Jump up with both feet and land as softly as possible. This exercise will strengthens your ankles as well as your overall balance as well.
If you find that even with these exercises, your ankles are frequently getting sprained, or you’re experiencing any foot or ankle pain, come in for an appointment at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Centreville, VA. Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm and his team have specialized in foot and ankle care for over seventeen years and can help address any podiatry needs that you may have. You can call us at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.