Sometimes, when we concentrate on bigger problem areas of our bodies, we forget about those smaller areas until they start to give us trouble. The ankle is a great example of an often forgotten body part that needs just as much attention as knee or shoulder injuries. So you don’t end up with weak ankles, or worsen an existing injury, we’ve put together a list of exercises that will help.
You should aim to do these exercises ten times, three times a day. As your ankle gets stronger and these exercises become easier you can gradually increase the repetitions in each set, the number of sets you do each day and the resistance while doing the stretch. If you have a serious ankle injury, don’t try to do too many repetitions or increase the resistance before you’re ready. If you rush through the exercises you could end up making the injury worse. All of the exercises listed below should be done with a resistance band. If you don’t have one, you can use a towel or a long scarf instead.
1. Ankle Dorsiflexion
Sit on the floor with one knee bent, foot flat on the floor. Straighten the other leg, with your toes pointing forward. Loop the resistance band around the toes, so they’re pointing away from your body, and secure both ends on something stable to hold the foot in place. (Shown in Figure 1) Slowly move the foot and ankle up against the resistance band as far as you can, without causing any pain. Repeat this exercise ten times and then change sides.
2. Ankle Plantarflexion
Sit on the floor and straighten one leg out flat. Bend the other knee and place the foot against the opposite thigh, so your knee is facing outwards. Loop the resistance band around your foot but instead of securing the ends on something else, hold on to the ends and bring the band towards you. (Shown in Figure 1) Slowly move your foot and ankle down against the resistance band as far as you can and without pain. Repeat this ten times and then change to the other side.
3. Ankle Eversion
Sit on the floor and straighten one leg out flat. Bend the other knee and place the foot on the floor.
Loop the resistance band around the outside of the out-stretched foot (the loop should be around the foot, close to the pinky toe) and secure it on something stable. (Shown in Figure 2) Move your ankle and foot inwards, towards your other leg, then slowly move it outwards as far as you can comfortably and without causing any pain. Repeat this exercise ten times and then change sides to do it on the other ankle.
4. Ankle Inversion
Sit on the floor and straighten one leg out flat. Bend the other knee and place the foot on the floor. Loop the resistance band around the inside of the foot (the loop should be around the foot, close to the big toe) and secure it on something stable. (Shown in Figure 2)
Move your foot and ankle inwards, against the resistance band, as far as you can without it causing pain. Repeat the exercise ten times and then change sides.
It’s important to remember with any injury, that any time you feel pain or discomfort while doing stretches you stop what you’re doing and only start again until the pain has subsided. Don’t rush through any of the stretches or push yourself too hard.
If you still have pain in your ankle, come to speak to one of our physiotherapists in Sydney. Contact us to make an appointment, or call us today on 02 9223 3122.
By Ashton Lucas
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