When you think of strength training, you probably think of all the major muscle groups: biceps, triceps, hamstrings, quadriceps, abdominals, etc. However, there are some smaller muscle groups and parts of the body that often get neglected. These are areas that can be prone to injury because they are not strengthened. One such area is the ankle.
What benefit would we get from exercising and strengthening the ankles? Well, if you think about it, without ankle strength, walking and running would not be possible. And if you further think about it or research it, one of the most common injuries, even to athletes, involve their ankles. Twisted ankles, sprains, torn ligaments, Achilles tendonitis, and even a broken ankles are all common injuries – with some happening over and over again.
In that case, you’d have to agree that strengthening them to prevent some of the minor injuries might be helpful. That’s why we’ve come up with a few ways to strengthen your ankles. Try some of these at home, but only if you are able!
First, don’t forget to Stretch and Warm up the feet and ankles. Do some ankle rotations, point the toes and then flex the feet. Doing these intentionally, you may feel a nice sensation as the blood rushes to it and circulation increases.
Then, try some of these sitting down (you can even watch TV while you’re doing them):
- Toe and Heel Raises: Keep your feet on the floor, but then raise the toes with the heels still down. Hold for a few seconds, then put them down. Next, raise the heels with the toes still down on the floor. Hold, then release. Do a few repetitions of these.
- Resistance Point and Flex: Use a resistance band or towel to increase the resistance and point and flex.
You can also try some of these while standing:
- Edge of the feet walking: It’s pretty much how it sounds. Walk a few steps on the tip toes, then on the heels, then on the outer parts of the feet, and the inner parts of the feet.
- Low squats: (You can use a pole or stationary object like a couch to stabilize you) Do a squat (making sure your knees do not pass your toes) and then continue down as far as you can. The goal is to get your backside all the way down until it almost hits the ground. Stay here for a few counts and then slowly get up. Try to use the muscles in your shins and calves, which will help strengthen your ankles.
Remember to only do what you can, but challenge yourself for stronger ankles. If you have a concern about repetitive ankle injuries, make an appointment with us at The Podiatry Group. Our podiatrists, Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof can perform a thorough assessment at our Jonesboro, AR office to treat your feet and ankles and keep them healthy.