Strengthening Weak Ankles for Walking, Hiking or Running
A firm foundation is more important than many people may even realize. Working together as a powerful team, the foot and the ankle provide balance, support and mobility to the body, helping to form a strong base and keeping it on the go. When an instrumental component to this structure becomes weakened, it can put limitations on a person’s involvement in the activities that they love. Weak ankles are a prime example of this, and for men and women alike, it can be the main factor that prevents them from joining in on a fun game of soccer, going on a hike or a run, or merely accomplishing the tasks of day to day life with a normal degree of comfort and stability.
Causes & Symptoms
Oftentimes, a person’s ankles can become unstable as a result of previous injuries, congenital causes or repeated ankle sprains. A common feeling is an unsteadiness or a giving out of the joint. It is also fairly typical for individuals with weak ankles to favor the lateral part of their feet, leaving the legs and feet feeling tired or exhausted by the end of the day. The situation can worsen by rolling the ankle, which can cause swelling, tenderness and pain.
Ways to Strengthen Your Step
It can be said that weak ankles are a part of a vicious cycle. Commonly caused by injury, they then subsequently increase the risk for further missteps, injuries, or sprains. Like many other foot issues, discovering the best method of treatment is most suitably done after a podiatrist examines the foot and determines the exact source of the problem. However, in general, performing these basic stretches and exercises every other day can help to strengthen the ankle-supporting muscles that have been weakened, and promote stability, flexibility and future sprain prevention:
Balancing Stance – Stand on one foot and balance yourself. This works the supporting muscles of the ankle as it shifts to remain stable during the pose. Then switch feet and repeat the exercise. You can also try this while holding hand weights to further build up the muscles.
Heel Raises & Walks – Stand with feet shoulder width apart and slowly lift yourself up on your toes. Hold briefly and then lower the heels down to the starting position. Do this for 10-15 reps. If you find this too difficult, hold onto the back of a chair for support. To increase the challenge and muscle strengthening, try the exercise while holding weights. Another muscle strengthening exercise is to balance yourself on your heels and walk around the room.
Resistance Exercises – At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we offer Thera-Band products such as resistance bands to help patients improve range of motion and muscle cooperation. These bands can be used to strengthen weak ankles through simple exercises. For example, in one exercise, sit on the floor and wrap an end of the band around the foot. Grab the other end with both hands and push your foot forward. Then return to the original position. Do this for about 15 to 20 reps. You can also try tying the band to a stable fixture. Once seated, wrap the other end around your foot. Then flex the toes inwards against the band.
Keeping Your Feet Healthy & Your Ankles Strong
For hikers, runners and athletes, keeping ankles strong is extremely necessary to maintain their performance and level of activity. But overall, weak ankles can have an impact on those of any pursuit, coming in between doing the things they enjoy and making further injury a bigger risk. If you have concerns about your ankle pain or another foot problem, request an appointment at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center in Long Beach today. We provide the highest standard of care to treat each patient with their individual symptoms and needs. Viewing surgery as a last resort, we put our podiatry knowledge to good use, so our patients can put their best foot forward through life.