Top 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Ankles to Avoid Twists and Sprains

Top 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Ankles

It seems like sometimes it is inevitable, you start on your New Year’s resolution and are breaking personal records in many different elements in your workout routine, only to succumb to an ankle injury.  While an ankle injury can vary depending on the level of severity, it can be quite a damper on your exercise journey.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid twisting, turning, and spraining your ankles.  The prevention of this style of injury could be an investment towards your physical health and with a few different workouts and exercises you can be free from ankle injuries.  Listed in this article are the top 5 ways to strengthen your ankles in order to prevent ankle injuries.

Top 5 Ways to Condition and Strengthen your Ankles to Avoid Injuries

  1. Calf Raises. Strengthening around the ankles helps teach the ankle area to control weight-shifting of the body [1].  In addition, the calf muscles are responsible for providing stability in the lower part of the leg and ankle area, which is the first joint in the body to come in contact with the ground.  Weak calf muscles could lead to an increased risk of injury if you play any sports, run on uneven surfaces, or if you are walking through loose gravel.  To strengthen the calf muscles, first start with the feet shoulder distance apart with the toes facing forward.  Both legs remain straight and the body remains tall.  Lift both heels from the ground to shift the body weight into the toes.  Pause then slowly lower the heels back down.  Aim for three sets of 12 reps on your calf raise.  If body weight calf raises are not challenging enough, add resistance by using a leg press machine, Smith machine, free weights and dumbbells, or a body bar.
  2. Alphabet Feet. If you have had the unfortunate chance of experiencing an ankle injury, preventing another from occurring is of utmost importance.  When the ankle experiences a sprain, the ankle joint tends to become loose, giving the ankle less stability and increasing the risk of future injury.  Due to this, it is advised to warm-up the ankle prior to any exercise routine.  One great way to warm-up and even strengthen the ankle joint area is to perform alphabet feet.  Alphabet feet is when you draw the entire alphabet with one foot in the air, attempting to make big circles and attempting to move the ankle joint as much as possible [2].  While this may appear ineffective to some, moving the ankle joint in such a way is a great way to use the muscles that line that particular joint area and strengthen the area.  Start by drawing the alphabet with one foot each and progress to two alphabets each.
  3. Toe Pointers with Resistance Band. This is an exercise designed to add resistance the ankle and foot area for anyone at risk or who has had an ankle injury.  Start by wrapping a resistance band around the balls of the feet and grab ahold of each end of the band.  Keeping resistance in the band, point the feet and toes away from the body against the band, and slowly return back to the starting point.  Start with three sets of ten until comfortable with the exercise.  For more challenge, perform the exercise with one foot at a time.
  4. Single Leg Balance Stands. The element of standing on one leg may appear to be a simple task, but when holding for about 20 seconds on one foot, the ankles get worked nicely.  When standing on one foot, the body must stabilize somehow, leaving the ankle area to do all the work.  Start with three sets of about 20 seconds of single leg stands to strengthen the ankles.  For more challenge, attempt a longer duration with each set or attempt a single leg stand on a BOSU ball.
  5. Toe Raises. One overlooked aspect in the lower leg area is the shin muscles.  The front part of the shin is important for any forward weight shift into each foot and is responsible for toe lifts.  Strengthening the shin area will help prevent high-ankle sprains and can help prevent months of rehab.  Start by performing two sets of 10 toe lifts in each leg.  Add a pause when lifting the toes in the air.  For a more enjoyable exercise, try tapping your toes to a fast beat song of your liking.  Click here for more information regarding the ankle and ankle injuries.  If you feel you have an ankle injury, it is best to see your doctor as soon as possible and do not try to push through the injury.






About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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