Watching the Olympics is always inspiring especially since it only occurs every two years (summer and winter) and the athletes that you see probably spend over 360 days a year training for their event. Olympic athletes are in phenomenal shape and although the average person will never have to train that intensely, there are still a few tips and tricks we can learn to apply to our own workouts. Here are a few exercises that specifically help strengthen your ankles and feet.
- Foot & Ankle Coordination: The better the coordination is between your foot and ankle, the better chances you have at having a stable gait and less chance of injury. Lift your foot up one at a time and try to go in a circular motion. At the same time, try getting your toes to move up and down. Switch it up with different combinations (moving your ankle left and right/up and down, while moving your toes in a circular motion, etc.)
- Roll To Your Toes: Do a lunge and then rest your back leg. Push as much weight as you can onto your toes, ankle and feet. Push your heel up until all the weight is pushed onto your toes and balls of your feet. Do slowly, but don’t hold the position too long. Switch feet and repeat. Do at least 3 sets of 3-5 times each.
- Ankle Roll Prevention: This may sound painful, but if you maintain complete control, it will strengthen your ankles and hopefully prevent future ankle rolls. Stand up and practice rolling your ankle (do not over extend) from one side to another. Do slow reps and feel the weight on the balls of your feet. Repeat 3-4 times for both left and right feet.
- Heel Strengthening: Stand up and try to balance your weight on the heel of your foot. You can use your other foot for balance but try to put the weight on the foot with the heel lifted up. Note how far your ankle flexes and do not over extend. Stand for at least 5 seconds then switch. Do at least 10 reps.
Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating patients for over eighteen years. If you have any questions or any foot or ankle ailments, contact our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.