Strengthen Your Ankles to Maintain Good Balance
There has been a lot of research out there about the correlation between ankle strength and good balance. If you’ve ever sprained your ankle, you will notice that your balance is not that great. It is also very common to have multiple ankle injuries, especially if you did not focus on strengthen the ankle after the injury. In a New York Times article states that the reoccurrence rate is 30% and depending on the numbers you use could be up to 80%.
If you have never sprained your ankle you can still have weak and unstable ankles. It can be weak muscles or an issue with your ligaments. The ligaments have neuro-receptors that communicate with the brain, if there is an issue with the ligament the messages may not be making it to the brain properly. At home you can test this by simply standing on one foot and hold your balance. If you are wobbly and flailing your arms you need to work on your balance. Try standing on one foot and time it, work toward increasing your time on each foot. More importantly your goal is to hold without wobbling and flailing your arms.
There are a few ways we can strengthen our ankles. Stop any weight bearing exercises if you experience pain.
- Seated or laying on your back write the alphabet with your feet, forward and backward. You can add a flexband around the arch of your foot to add more resistance.
- Stand on one foot and find your balance, your hands can be on a counter top at the beginning to help you find your balance. Then try lifting your heel and going up on the ball of your foot. Lift and lower 8-12 times.
- Stand on an unstable surface, stability cushions work best, but your could also use a small throw pillow. Stand by a counter top so you can use it for balance it you need it and walk in place, shift your weight from one foot to the next and try lifting and lowering your heels.
- Walk on your heels.
- With a band around the arch of your foot, flex and point the foot at the ankle. Watch that you do not use your toes to make this happen, other wise you could get a toe cramp.
- Hop on one foot, then switch.
Do these a minimum of three times a week to see results.