The risk of an ankle sprain increases with age when supporting muscles weaken and there is a lack of care to stretch, engage and strengthen the ankle ligaments and structure. As dooming as this may sound, you can help prevent not only ankle sprains, but a weakening ankle system all together with simple stretching and strengthening techniques.
Tendonitis and arthritis are another two common sources of ankle pain. You may be able to manage these ailments as well with diligent stretching and strengthening. Here are 5 simple, effective exercises that will keep your ankles happy and strong.
5 Simple Ankle Stretches
1. Peroneal Stretching/Strengthening
The peroneal tendons run along the outside of the ankle, and they are crucial for strength and support. These tendons provide stability to the ankle when it is bearing weight and protects it from sprains. They also help to stabilize the arch in your foot when walking.
The Stretch: Gently roll onto the outside of your feet and walk around for 60 seconds on carpeted flooring. This will help with flexibility and strength.
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2. Ankle Circles
Doing ankle circles will help to strengthen the muscles in and around your ankle, improving the joint’s stability.
The Stretch: Extend your right leg straight while sitting on a chair. Move your right foot clockwise 10 to 20 times in a circular motion. Rest for 5 seconds and repeat this move moving your foot counterclockwise. Alternate legs, doing 3 to 4 sets per side.
3. Dorsiflexion Stretch
“Dorsiflexion” simply means bringing your toes closer to your shin. This will help protect/strengthen the muscles and tendons in your ankle and give your calfs a nice stretch.
The Stretch: Sit on the floor with your right leg straight, the left crossed in front of you. The sole of your left foot should rest against the inside of your right leg. Place a towel or band around the ball of the right foot and gently pull your toes back toward you. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat the stretch 4 times, then switch legs.
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4. Write the Alphabet
This is a great exercise to “wake up” the deep muscles within the foot and ankle. Using your big toe as a pointer, trace the alphabet as if you were writing in the sand. Write the alphabet in all capital letters first, then repeat the process with lower case letters if you have time; switch feet and repeat.
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5. Achilles Stretches
By doing regular Achilles stretches, you can improve its flexibility and help to prevent It from rupturing at any point in the future.
The Stretch: Stand at the edge of a stair or a raised platform that is stable. Put the front part of each foot on the stair. While you hold on to the railing for balance, let one heel lower slowly and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch feet and repeat 3-4 times.
If you have any questions about foot or ankle pain simply contact us at 706.999.9994 or request a consultation online.
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