Do you feel that your ankles are weak, and you always roll them while running and playing? It is mainly because you’re not doing exercises that appropriately challenge your balance and help you strengthen your ankles.
Ankle exercises are highly recommended for athletes and people with injured ankles. It’s part of the ankle rehabilitation process and it also improves one’s overall performance.
Anyone suffering from an ankle sprain can begin exercises to strengthen their ankles within three days of an injury but only if the injury isn’t too severe.
But honestly speaking, when it comes to doing ankle mobility exercises for rehabilitation process, there is no set time frame. You will eventually know when you’re ready to get back in the game once the pain reduces by following your physician’s advice.
The very first thing that you can do to heal your ankle sprain is by applying an ice-pack to your ankle for 10 minutes every day. Ice will bring you relief and it will reduce the swelling around your ankle but keep in mind, ice should never touch your skin directly and never apply the ice-pack for too long.
Along with using ice, you can also put on best ankle braces to speed up the healing. Ankle braces or sleeves come with compression fabric and they ensure your ankle receives enough targeted support so your muscles can easily recover.
Once you are done with the bed rest and your ankle pain has been relieved, you can gradually improve your ankle mobility by starting a program of home exercises or by physical therapy.
If you aren’t an athlete, you can always go for the home exercises prescribed by your doctor or you can start an exercising routine under a professional trainer.
Back in 2007, a study was conducted on 102 people suffering from major ankle sprains; some of them took professional exercising regimes while others relied on standard home care. According to the results, there was no major difference between both exercising routines. This means you can either go for home exercise regime or go under supervised training without anything to worry about.
Types of Exercises to Strengthen Ankles
Home unsupervised exercises do not always have to be a frightening subject. With the right information and guidance, you can easily improve your ankle flexibility and ankle mobility without the need of spending tons on a professional trainer.
We know not all of us can hire a professional trainer but that doesn’t mean we need to fall behind on our recovery process.
So, keeping that in mind, we have enlisted seven exercises. All these exercises will help you get back in your game and improve your performance by strengthening your ankles
1. Ankle alphabet
Let’s start smart and slow. The very first exercise that we suggest you do is ankle alphabet.
You need to sit on a comfortable chair or a couch and extend your one leg out. Now, trace the letters of the alphabet with your big toe in the air. If there is no anterior ankle pain, repeat this exercise 2-4 times.
This is a gentle exercise that will help improve ankle mobility.
2. Knee motion
While keeping your feet flat on the floor, sit on a chair and relax.
Now slowly move your knees from side to side for 2-3 times. If there is no pain, you can continue doing this exercise in sets of 3.
This exercise will stretch and relax the ligaments around your ankle.
3. Towel and tissue scrunches
When going through the rehabilitation process, the very first question most of the athletes ask is how to improve ankle mobility after an injury?
The above mentioned exercises will all help you in that and so will towel and tissue scrunches.
So, now let go of that comfortable chair and find a hard one to sit on. Take off your shoes and socks and place a towel or a tissue right in front of you.
Gently grab the towel with your toes, scrunch it in between and count to five. Release the town and repeat. You can do it for 8-12 times or less if you feel some sort of pain.
4. Elastic band push
To do this exercise, you need to sit on the floor and prop up your ankle with a rolled-up towel in order to keep your heel off the floor.
Place the elastic band around the ball of your foot and hold it from both ends (you will easily get this band from any physical therapist or sporting goods store).
Now slowly and steadily push your ankle forward like you’re pointing at your toe and then bring it back with the same pace. You can do it for about 10 times but do not go for the band if you feel pain in your ankle.
5. Elastic band pull
You can call this exercise the ankle weight workout because it involves the usage of a heavy object. It will help you strengthen your ankle and improve your ankle’s range of motion.
You can use a heavy object like a desk or a heavy table to tie your resistance band around it’s leg but make sure it is heavy enough so it doesn’t get dragged during the exercise.
Now, sit on the floor and hook your upper foot and toes into the band. Pull your foot back towards you and slowly return to the vertical position. Repeat this exercise 10 times daily and you will see the difference while you perform.
6. Single-leg Romanian Deadlifts
Talking about ankle weight exercises, here is another one to get your performance up the hill.
You need to start this exercise by standing on both your legs with a weight in one hand. You can also use a kettlebell for this purpose. Now, while being in control, bend at your waist very slowly.
While raising one leg off the ground, lower your arm with the weight down on the same side of your body. Hold it right there and then slowly return to your original position.
If you think that the weight might be too much, you can always ditch the kettlebell and do it without any constraint. The goal of this exercise is to bring you balance while you’re standing on a single leg.
7. Walking lunges
We all know that running on a sprained ankle isn’t wise which is why walking lunges will help you get there. This exercise will not only bring strength to your weak ankles but it will also help you with your balance.
To do a walking lunge, bring your leg one step forward and bend your front knee at a 90-degrees angle while letting your back knee dip to the ground. This is the same position you have when doing a static lunge.
Hold this position for 5 seconds than bring your back leg forward and repeat the lunge with the opposite leg. Walking lunges help in strengthening the lower body, especially the knees and ankles. You should do ten lunges per leg but if you feel you aren’t stable enough yet, you can always do less.
There are also some inversion exercises that will help you to maintain your balance and improve flexibility.
Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs
Q: Why do my ankles hurt when I run?
There are several reasons to why your ankle hurts when running but it is mainly because of overused muscles or ankle strain.
Q: Why does my ankle pop?
The ankle popping when rotating is a sound that results as tendons snap against your bones in your ankle once you rotate your ankle. Even though the ankle popping doesn’t really cause any pain, it can tear your tendons if the ankle is rotated past its threshold.
Q: How to increase ankle mobility?
Ankle mobility can be increased by doing a couple of exercises and by maintaining a regular workout regime.
We hope this article was helpful too. If you have any queries in this regard, feel free to leave us with your feedback in the comments section.