Do you have weak ankles? Ankles that twist easily or just seem to give out when you’re walking on uneven payment or you step on a pebble can lead to serious chronic disability. The problem is that weak or previously sprained ankles tend to get weaker and have recurring injuries if the proper measures are not taken. At Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle, our board certified foot and ankle doctor, A. Bil Buksh, DPM, recommends that patients with weak ankles use exercise to strengthen their ankles. (This is in addition to stretching before and after exercise which is an essential aid in avoiding injury to the ankle and rest of your body.) Below are a few to try. Remember, the proper technique is to stretch, hold, and relax. Do not bounce or pull repetitively as this can tear or damage muscles, tendons and ligaments. To begin, start with sets of 10 and do 2 or 3 sets. As your strength increases, you can increase the number of sets or repetitions.
- Exercise Band/Towel Pull—Loop an exercise band (or towel) under the ball of your foot. Slowly flex your foot forward and then return to resting position.
- Reverse Band Pull—Sitting in the same position with the towel or band around the ball of your foot, gently pull the foot toward your body. This will stretch the calf muscle as well, which is very important. Many foot and ankle injuries are the result of tight calf muscles and a tight Achilles tendon.
- Alphabet Trace—Sit in a chair that is high enough so that your feet are not resting on the ground. Using your big toe, trace every letter of the alphabet on the floor. Switch and do with your other foot.
- Step Drop—Using a step or curb with a railing nearby, put the ball of your foot on the edge of the step and slowly lower your heel and hold. Gradually go lower, but always maintaining a comfortable stretch. Switch feet and repeat.
If despite your work to strengthen your ankles, you do suffer a twist or sprain, contact our Edmond or Norman office as soon as possible and keep the ankle iced and elevated as much as possible until your appointment. Prompt attention and complete rehabilitation are critical in preventing future ankle problems.