Your ankles take a beating, especially if you are a jogger or other athlete. Ankles and the muscles surrounding them experience constant stress due to the impact of running, jumping, and even a normal walking stride. All of that stress makes ankles particularly prone to injury. An injured ankle can keep you off your feet and off of your exercise regimen. If you want to minimize the chances of injury, you need to get to work strengthening your ankles.
If you have strong ankle musculature, your ankles can withstand greater force before sustaining an injury. The most common ankle injury is a sprain, also called an “inverse” injury. Sprains typically occur when you make a misstep or trip and your foot rolls underneath your ankle. If the muscles surrounding the ankle are strong, they are less likely to suffer from a sprain when such missteps occur.
Strong ankles also offer benefits beyond reducing the chances of strain. Strengthening lower leg muscles around the ankle can help prevent chronic conditions such as shin splints and Achilles tendonitis. Keeping your ankles strong can also improve your stride and athletic performance. If exercise is not a top priority for you, perhaps the ability to wear more challenging shoes such as high heels may motivate you to give your ankles a little TLC.
Strengthening your ankles isn’t hard. Here are some quick and easy ankle exercises that can keep you in stride:
- Ankle Pump-Ups. You can increase your ankle flexibility and strengthen the adjacent muscles in the front of your shins by pulling your foot up like you were trying to touch the front of your shins with your toes. Hold in that position for 10 seconds, doing three sets of 10. Try to do this exercise three times per day if you can.
- Ankle pump-downs. Building the same flexibility and strength as ankle pump ups, but for your calves, push your foot down and point your toes away from you towards the floor. As with the pump-ups, hold for 10 seconds and do three sets of 10.
- Bent knee wall stretch. This exercise also works your calves and involves leaning against a solid wall and with your arms outstretched. Move one foot forward while keeping the other back. Then, slightly bend your back knee until you can feel the stretch in the back of that calf. Hold for 30 seconds and do three sets of 10, three times a day.
JAWSpodiatry: Your Partners in Foot and Ankle Health
The exercises listed above are great ways to strengthen your ankles and minimize the chances of injury. You can also keep your ankles and feet healthy by partnering with the specialists at JAWSpodiatry in Hollywood, Florida. We use the most advanced and effective techniques to reduce pain, speed recovery and improve performance for individuals dealing with foot and ankle problems. If you’d like to learn more about our innovative and effective treatments or how we can help you with your foot and ankle concerns, please call us today at (954) 922-7333 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.