8 Ankle Exercises to Build Strength : Did you know that every day in the US, 25,000 people sprain their ankles? And, over 1 million people end up in the emergency room each year due to an ankle injury?
Ankle injuries can happen to anyone at any time. The good news is, however, there are exercises you can perform to strengthen your ankles and reduce the risk of injury.
What sorts of exercises should you be doing?
Check out this guide to learn about the top ankle exercises to build strength.
Squat jumps are one of the best exercises to strengthen your ankles. However, you should only perform squat jumps if your ankles are in good shape.
If your ankle is currently sprained or tweaked, you’ll want to avoid this exercise as it will put way too much strain on them.
Here’s how you perform a squat jump:
– Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and place your hands at your side
– Slowly lower your body down so that your thighs are almost parallel to the ground
– Push off from your toes and explode into the air
– Land softly and immediately perform another jump
– Repeat this move 10 to 15 times
If the jump is too much for you, you can just perform the squat portion of the exercise.
You can also add a challenge to your regular squats by performing them on a balance board.
Standing Calf Raises
Standing calf raises are a great way to strengthen your entire lower legs.
To perform a standing calf raise, you’ll stand with your feet close together. Then you’ll lift yourself up onto your toes and the lower back down to the ground.
Repeat the exercise for 10 to 15 reps.
If you’d like to make it more challenging, you can stand one leg or add dumbbells to your hands.
For this exercise, you’ll need to gather some small cones. If you don’t have cones, you can use pens, spoons, water bottles, or any other sort of stable marker.
Here’s what you need to do to perform the exercise:
– Place the cones around you in a star formation
– Stand on one foot
– Tap each cone or marker with the other foot, and gently make your way around the star
– Repeat this 5 times, and then move onto the other foot
If you find this exercise to be too easy, you can place the balancing foot on a Bosu ball or some other uneven surface.
You can also do an exercise where you stand on one foot and then jump to one cone, return to center, and then jump back to another cone. However, you should only perform this exercise if your ankles are currently stable.
To perform this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band.
Here’s what you need to do:
– Grab a 3-foot resistance band and tie a small double knot at the end of it so that the band is formed into a big loop
– Place the looped band around the leg of a table
– Stretch the band out and place the band around the top of your foot
– Sit back far enough so that the band is pulled taut
– Bend your foot and ankle back toward your body then forward again
– Repeat this 10 to 30 times, and then do the same thing on the other side
If you don’t have a resistance band, just moving your ankle back and forth can help stretch it out and get it ready for exercise.
The great thing about hopping exercises is that they can be performed pretty much any time, anywhere. And, as your ankles get stronger, you can find ways to make these hopping exercises more difficult.
To perform a hopping exercise, all you need to do is stand on one leg. Then, hop forward, hop sideways, and hop backward. Repeat this hopping sequence for about 30 times on one leg until you move onto the other leg.
To make the sequence harder, you can add a small barrier that you have to jump over, such as a cone.
Eventually, your ankles and legs should get strong enough to the point where you can hop onto something, such as a small box.
To make the hops more challenging, you can also hold small dumbbells or wear ankle weight.
If you’ve recently sprained your ankle and are in need of a gentle exercise to strengthen it, the ankle alphabet is for you.
To perform this exercise, you’ll want to begin by sitting on a comfortable couch or chair. Then, extend one leg out and trace the letters of the alphabet in the air with your big toe.
If you don’t feel any pain, repeat this exercise two to three times.
Also, if you’re confused about your ankle pain and what it means, click here to find out more.
Towel or Tissue Scrunch
This is another great exercise to perform if you’re looking to strengthen a still very tender ankle.
To perform this exercise, sit in a hard chair and place a towel or a tissue in front of you on the floor.
With your socks and shoes off, gently grab the towel or tissue with your toes. Scrunch it up, count to 5, and then release it. If you don’t feel any pain, repeat the exercise 8 to 10 times.
Performing some basic balance exercises can make a world of a difference when it comes to strengthening your ankle.
One of the simplest exercises to do is to stand on one foot, count to thirty, and then repeat on the other foot. If you’re looking to make this slightly more challenging but aren’t quite ready to attempt it on a balance ball, perform the same exercise standing on a pillow.
For an extra challenge, you can perform the exercise with your eyes closed.
Ankle Exercises: Are You Ready to Strengthen Your Ankles?
Now that you have this list of ankle exercises, it’s time to start strengthening your ankles.
Before you know it, your ankles will be stronger than ever.
Also, if you liked this blog post, be sure to check back in for more exercise related tips and tricks.
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