Thought about ankle strengthen exercises lately? Likely not, but you should. If you want a healthy overall physical body, you must have a stable active joint performance. Joints are very important for athletes to perform well. Even non-athletes should try to have top notch performing joints so that they can walk properly, run when needed and become less prone to injury when playing sports.
Of all the joints that we have that we need to be in top notch performance, it is our ankle joints that are should be given much importance to function well.
Let’s Keep Our Ankle Strong – Ankle Strengthening Exercises
Why do we need to keep our ankle joint strong? When athletes jump, run, sprint or do a quick stop, it is our ankle joints that take much beating. The muscles, tendons and ligaments around our ankle undergo a lot of stress. An athlete can withstand the stress and avoid injuries if the ankle musculature is strong. Injuries can be avoided even if they seem to be inevitable with strong muscles around your ankle. Having strong ankles creates stronger lower legs which will help in preventing shin splints and Achilles tendonitis which are chronic pain conditions.
It is best to prioritize keeping our ankles healthy and strong at an early stage of your sports career to perform better as athletes.
Injured Ankles Can Ruin a Career of a Pro
We have seen, heard and have probably known a story of someone whose career ended because of an injury. If you are an aspiring athlete who wants to make your sport a career, your physical health is of paramount importance. Even if you have just endured a simple ankle sprain, it might be the reason for you not to be drafted. Your skill and talent will get you noticed as a player, but your overall performance as an athlete will get you drafted as a pro, this includes your overall health condition. Making sure that your ankle joints are in tip top shape will give you the opportunity to play in the pros. SO, you have to strengthen those ankles!
Control Your Moves More Efficiently With a Healthy Ankle Joint
Another BIG reason why you should have your ankles in tip top shape is that you will be able to control your moves in sports. This is best felt by people who play basketball, soccer, volleyball, running and biking. Controlling your every move springs from the ankles. A side step, a sudden sprint and a quick stop are essential moves to get ahead of your opponent in basketball and football. Having a healthy ankle will make you perform well as an athlete.
To achieve this, you should have ankle strengthening exercises to keep your ankles strong.
Top Effective Ankle Strengthening Exercises
**The first 3 exercises concentrate on Balance Training
- One-leg stand – Stand on one leg and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat thrice for each leg.
- Balance and Catch – (To be done with a partner) Stand on one leg and throw a ball to your partner. Catch the ball thrown at you as well. Throw and catch the ball at different areas: low, high, left, right and mid. Do 3 sets of 30.
- Mini squats – Do half a squat on one with the opposite leg out. Do 10 repetitions with the leg out and 10 repetitions with the leg behind you. Repeat thrice.
**These 4 exercises involve the use of a thera-band. This is highly helpful to make the ankles strong. They can be purchased at your local medical supplies store.
- Inversion – Place band around the top foot. Pull thera-band to achieve ample amount of tension. Curl ankle INWARDS. Do 3 sets of 20. Do the other foot.
- Eversion – Place band around the top foot. Pull thera-band to achieve ample amount of tension. Curl ankle OUTWARDS. Do 3 sets of 20. Do the other foot.
- Dorsiflexion – (to be done with partner) Place band around the top foot. Pull thera-band AWAY FROM YOU to achieve ample amount of tension. Curl ankle TOWARDS YOU. Do 3 sets of 20. Do the other foot.
- Plantar Flexion – Place band around the top foot. Pull thera-band to achieve ample amount of tension. Curl ankle AWAY FROM YOU. Do 3 sets of 20. Do the other foot.
Ankle Strengthening Exercises Require Precautionary Measures
Do the necessary ankle stretching at least 30 minutes before the actual sport itself. That means that if you have a game at 8pm, you should be loosening your body joints, especially your knees and ankles 30 minutes before the game. This practice will prevent sprains and other forms of tears even if it seems inevitable.
For active athletes who have been injured at least once (or for those who do not want to have a major ankle injury in the future) Doctors advice that compression socks should be worn while heavy workout, or if you expect heavy activity in your sports. Wearing compression sleeves, muscles tapes, neoprene sleeves and the like will help in compressing the muscles around the ankle thereby making it less prone to injury.
What’s good about neoprene sleeves is that they can act as ankle support because of the restriction it gives to the muscles. The range of motion is lessened thereby a great garment to be worn by athletes who have had major ankle problems and need an ankle support. What’s good about compression sleeves is that it does not restrict the movement of the athlete. You still get the full range of motion in your ankle. It is light on the skin and the compression it gives is not too tight to create a problem with the blood flow but instead create a better blood flow for injured ankles. It cannot be used as an ankle support though for ankles with major injuries. If you want to restrict the range of motion of your ankles, an ankle brace or ankle support is best to be worn during a heavy game.
Cool down after every game. Just like a machine that has worked hard, it is best to cool down rather than stopping almost instantly. Cooling down by jogging or doing less strenuous physical activity gives a signal to your body that you are about to rest.
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