Ankle injuries are frustrating because although the ankle is a small area, an ankle injury can force you to skip your workout, sit out a game, or cancel your hiking plans.
Fortunately many ankle injuries can be prevented—use these tips to get started.
Build strength: Stronger leg muscles will give you more control which in turn will help you avoid falls and slips that could result in ankle injuries. A few exercises that can help you build up leg strength include:
Lunges with dumbbells in each hand
Squats with a barbell
Seated leg curls and leg extensions
Improve balance and flexibility: Strength is an important part of having control, but balance and flexibility will also help you avoid twisting or spraining your ankles. Build flexibility by stretching before and after your workout and increase your balance by trying some of the following exercises:
Workout with a partner—toss a medicine ball back and forth while standing on one leg.
Stand on one leg without holding onto anything else. Stay on that leg for as long as you can and then switch to the other leg.
Take a yoga class—Many yoga poses help you build strength, balance, and flexibility all at the same time. If you don’t want to go to a regular class, pick a few poses that require balance and add them to your stretching routine.
Choose your running path wisely: Running is a great way to stay in shape and improve your cardio fitness, but be careful where you run. Most people should avoid running on uneven surfaces because that makes it much easier to trip. If you want to run on hills, be sure to build up gradually and go slow when you are running downhill.
Build up to running on hills
Listen to your body: If you have pain in your ankle, stop what you are doing and adjust your exercise. Seek treatment for injuries before they become worse instead of ignoring the pain. An orthopedic specialist can help you heal from injuries and prevent problems in the future. To learn more about protecting your ankles and other joints, schedule an appointment with Dr. William D. Murrell Jr.