In just one day, as many as 25,000 people in the United States sprain their ankle. A sprain occurs when you stretch or tear the ligaments in this joint. You can do this during a competitive game of soccer, but it can also happen from taking a misstep off a curb or tripping over a rock on the road.
While there’s no way to guarantee you won’t suffer an ankle sprain, you can greatly reduce your chances by strengthening your ankle with simple exercises. At the offices of North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, expert podiatrists Samantha Childers, DPM and Ricky Childers, DPM take your ankle health seriously.
Our team in Decatur, Texas and our newest location—Roanoke, Texas—are here to help you with expert advice and care. We hope you don’t suffer an ankle sprain anytime soon, but, if you should, we’re ready to ensure you fully recover.
Here are some of our top tips for strengthening your ankles to prevent sprains.
1. Wear smart shoes
While you may like the way they look, high heeled shoes put you at a greater risk for a number of foot and ankle problems, including ankle sprains. The elevated heel puts your ankle in an unnatural position, so each step you take is unstable.
Loose-fitting sandals or slides can also contribute to instability and make a trip or misstep more likely. Wear well-fitting shoes and use a custom orthotic if necessary to prevent other foot pain or dysfunction. Our expert team at our newest Roanoke, Texas, and Decatur, Texas, locations can make recommendations according to your specific work and athletic needs.
2. Strengthen with the ABCs
Move both your ankles through non-weight bearing exercises to increase their range of motion and resiliency. This is especially important before you start any type of fitness activity involving your feet and ankles.
An example of such an exercise is the ABCs: Lift your foot off the ground and make the shapes of the alphabet with your foot. No need to make perfect shapes—the intention is just to get your ankle moving in all directions. This will loosen up your ankles and reduce your chances of rolling or twisting it.
3. Stretch with purpose
Stretching helps prevent your Achilles tendon from tightening up. This important connective tissue attaches your heel bone to your calf. If it becomes constricted, it causes pain and is subject to tear or rupture—seriously compromising ankle strength.
Stretch by standing on a step with your heel hanging off the back edge. Gently drop your heel to feel a stretch through the Achilles and the back of the calf. We can prescribe other stretches as well.
4. Test your balance
Balancing exercises improve your ankle control. If you’re recovering from an ankle sprain, try this exercise: Stand in a doorway and place your hands on the doorframe to steady yourself. Slowly your healthy foot slightly off the ground. Try balancing all your weight on your injured foot for 30 seconds. Then, move up to 60 seconds when you feel comfortable.
If you decide to come in, our expert providers can give you a range of balancing exercises to contribute to improved ankle strength.
5. Use a TheraBand
Strengthen your ankle in all directions using a TheraBand, purchased online or in a medical supply store. Place the band around the top of your foot and move the foot inward and outward about 20 times. Then point and flex the foot against the band’s resistance about 20 times. Repeat several times each week.
Don’t take your ankles for granted. Instead, take action now to keep them healthy and strong so you can prevent injury, particularly ankle sprains, down the line. Our team at the Decatur, Texas, office, along with our newest Roanoke, Texas, location can help you develop an ankle-strengthening routine.
Should you suffer any kind of ankle or foot injury, rest assured that the expert providers at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle are ready to help you heal. Call today for your appointment or book online through our website anytime.