School athletes work hard. Besides daily classes and homework, they attend practices and workouts to train and prepare for games. They push their bodies to stay in shape and improve their skills. Their feet can take a pounding, too—whether they’re in contact sports like football, or have to jump and run on hard surfaces, like tennis. Working to strengthen your ankles for your school sports can help you play hard and prevent avoidable injuries in the long run.
Ankles are vital for your ability to push off the ground, change direction, and adjust to the surface you’re playing on. They have to be strong to handle incredible pressure and absorb the shock of striking the ground and pushing off again, particularly when you change directions. It they are too weak, they could give out under the force of your steps, potentially injuring you. There’s good news! You can do exercises to keep your joints strong. Here are a few basic ones to start you out:
- Resistance band – Loop a towel or resistance band around the ball of your foot. Hold the other ends to the outside of your lower limb. Twist your foot inward, pressing against the band. Then switch, so you’re holding the band across the inside of your body and twist your foot to the outside.
- Balancing – Stand on one foot for 30 seconds without holding anything to balance. To make it more difficult, close your eyes or stand on a soft object, like a pillow.
- Ankle circles – Sitting with your feet in front of you, rotate your feet at the ankles in circles. Do 10 rotations clockwise, then repeat in a counterclockwise direction.
- Heel raises and lowers – Stand on a step with your heels hanging off the edge. Rise up on your toes as high as you can, then lower your heels past the neutral point, until they can’t go down farther (it should not be painful). Return to neutral and repeat the motion.
Don’t take your ankles for granted. You may not think about them much now, but you won’t be able to forget them if you’re sidelined with a joint injury! Let our Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. staff help you with more exercises to strengthen your ankles. Just use the website contact page or call to reach us: (203) 876-7736 for Milford, or (203) 288-4055 for Hamden.