Whether or not you care about soccer, it is hard to miss the World Cup news. The tournament quarter-finals are taking place this 4th of July weekend. While it may not be a conscious thought, every player in these games is counting on his ankles to hold up during these vital matches, to absorb shock and enable running and kicking. Your ankles are just as vital. If your joints are weak, you may need ankle strengthening to avoid injuries.
Strengthening your ankles benefits you in many ways. It can help prevent sprains and falls, especially as you get older. Exercises to improve them are easy to work into any daily routine.
Balancing – Practice balancing on one foot without holding anything for support for 30 seconds on each foot. As you improve, extend that to a minute. Increase the difficulty by closing your eyes or standing on a pillow. Ankle Circles – Sit with your legs extended in front of you. Rotate your feet clockwise ten times, then counterclockwise. Calf Raises – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly raise your heels as high as you can and balance for a second, then lower them. Repeat ten times. Resistance Band Exercises – Sit with a resistance band or towel looped around one foot. Slowly point that foot, pushing against the band, then relax. Repeat ten times, then repeat it twisting your ankle to the sides against the band. Calf Stretches – Face a wall with one foot six inches behind the other. Keeping the back knee straight and your heel on the ground, lunge forward on the front leg and lean against the wall. Repeat the motion with both knees bent.
It’s important to stretch the supporting tissues as well as build them up, so they don’t become too tight and lose their flexibility. If you struggle with these exercises, or notice any ankle joint pain, don’t push through it. Contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic for ankle strengthening help. Call 210.428.4570 or use our online contact form to reach our Universal City or Pleasanton, TX, office for an appointment.