Exercising your ankles can be key in helping to prevent injury. Your ankle joint flexibility and walking ability might also improve. Here are eight ankle-strengthening exercises a podiatrist may recommend:
1. Single-leg Balance
Single-leg balance exercises challenge a weak ankle joint to maintain balance to make it strong and stable. One way to do this exercise is to stand on one leg daily for a few minutes. You can hold a countertop, chair, or a table when standing to keep your balance. Closing your eyes and stretching out your arms can also maintain your balance during this exercise.
2. Dorsiflexion or Ankle Flexion
During dorsiflexion, you first move your foot upwards, then towards your tibia. Regular dorsiflexions can enhance your ankle mobility and prevent shin pain when squatting or running. If you decide to use a resistance band, first attach it to a heavy table or chair leg. Loop it around your foot and flex your ankle repeatedly for a few minutes. Myofascial release and yoga poses, like chair and camel poses, can also make your dorsiflexions more effective.
3. Isometric Ankle Inversion and Eversion
A podiatrist may recommend isometric ankle inversion or eversion if you have inflamed ankle tendons. During isometric ankle inversion, you bend the foot with the inflamed ankle inwards against a wall or table leg. Isometric ankle eversion involves outward bending of the affected ankle. These exercises relieve ankle inflammation, contributing to better blood circulation in the foot and easier walking.
4. Ankle Alphabet
The first step to doing the ankle alphabet exercise is sitting on a supportive chair. Your foot should be slightly above the ground so you can easily draw the alphabet in the air. Using your toes to draw the alphabet enables the ankle to get a full range of motion, slowly strengthening injured tendons or ligaments.
Lunges can be done as walking, static, reverse, or side lunges. When lunging, your back should be straight for even body weight distribution. Your knee should be off the floor to prevent irritation and enable body movement. Your body should move downwards and not forward when lunging for easier ankle motion.
6. Plantar Flexion
During plantar flexions, you bend your foot away from your shin bone. Some exercises involved in plantar flexions include stretching your ankle downwards and curling your toes. Raising your heels while standing can also be part of plantar flexions. Plantar flexions can stiffen muscles like the soleus complex, plantar fascia, posterior tibialis, and porenus brevis.
7. Ankle Circles
Ankle circles involve slow foot rotations to make small circles. If you decide to exercise when seated, just lift and do circles with one leg at a time for comfort. Daily ankle circles can loosen up stiff calves for stronger ankles.
Plyometrics involve jumping to forcefully work out the ankle muscles. You can create a four-square box on the floor during plyometrics and hop in different directions. Do single and double leg hops and switch directions to strengthen all sides of your muscles.
How To Choose a Podiatrist for Your Weak Ankles
The specialist you choose should have adequate experience in foot and ankle care. Food and ankle specialists should also have the National Podiatric Specialty Board licensing to signify their professionalism and reputation. Choosing an ankle doctor in your hometown can enable a more convenient treatment due to close proximity. Getting estimates from several foot doctors can help you find an affordable option.
Get Help With Weak Ankles Today
Stronger and more flexible ankles can ease your walking, squatting, jumping, or running. Exercises like the ones listed above can help reduce the chances of injury and strengthen your ankle muscles. A professional podiatrist can recommend the best ankle-strengthening exercises and guide you on how to do them. Search for an experienced and reputable foot doctor today for quality ankle treatment.