5 Ways to Strengthen Your Ankles to Prevent Sprains

Sprained ankles are among the most common injuries, which makes sense given that your ankles are hard at work from the moment you take to your feet each morning. While there are varying degrees of sprains, any injury to the ligaments in your ankle leaves you more susceptible to instability and re-injury in the future.

At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, our team of highly trained podiatrists understands the perils that come with a sprained ankle, which is why we’ve pulled together the following exercises to help you avoid them in the first place.

Here’s a look at five exercises that can strengthen your ankle to help you avoid sprains.

1. Swing it out

Sprained ankles typically occur when you’re on the move, so the goal with this exercise is to mimic movement without actually going anywhere. To start, stand on one leg, and slightly bend your knee. Then, simply swing your free leg back and forth like a pendulum. This creates a movement that forces your supporting ankle to accommodate. 

As you gain your balance, you can try swinging your leg from side-to-side or swing it around your body from front to back. You should try and get three sets of 20 swings on each leg in total.

2. Runner’s position

Stand with your feet together and then pretend you’re taking a running step, driving the knee of the free leg up and getting up on the ball of your foot on the standing leg. But, instead of taking that running step, hold the position with your knee up in the air for five seconds and then bring your free leg back down and come off your toes on your standing leg. For best results, try and do three sets of 15 on each leg.

3. Ankle rolls

A great way to promote both strength and flexibility is by performing ankle rolls. To start, sit in a chair and lift one leg out straight. Then rotate your foot clockwise in a full circle 10-20 times and then counterclockwise 10-20 times. Repeat with both ankles.

4. Your ABCs

Another great exercise for strength and flexibility is to spell out the alphabet with your big toe. To begin, sit in a chair and raise one leg out in front of you. Then begin spelling out the alphabet in capital letters in the air with your big toe as the “pen.” When you’re finished, repeat using all lowercase letters. Now perform the same exercise with your other leg.

5. In the stars

This more advanced strengthening exercise involves hopping so be sure your ankle is strong enough. Stand on one leg and pretend that you’re in the middle of an 8-point star. Hop to each point and back to the center again. Repeat this circuit 3-5 times on each foot.

If you have any questions or concerns about exercising your ankles, please contact one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to set up a consultation.

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