Ankle Instability: Tips for Strengthening Weak Ankles

Introduction

Ankles are one of the most overused joints in the human body. The wear and tear experienced by ankle joints and muscles every day can take a toll on them over time.

Besides affecting a person’s balance, weak ankles can increase the risk of sprains, leading to persistent instability.

 Ankle pain can be extremely uncomfortable and debilitating. Dr. Tanvir Bhutani at Eva Hospital recommends you take action to strengthen your ankles before they cause you pain.

Also read: Tendonitis and Tendinopathy

 

Symptoms of Weak Ankles

The ankles turning or rolling to the outside is the most common symptom of weak ankles. 

Other symptoms are:

  • Tender ankles and feet
  • Constant ankle sprains or injuries
  • An ankle that twists outward while walking
  • Balance problems
  • Trouble keeping your ankles straight when wearing heels

Tips and Exercises for Ankle Stability

The following exercises may improve ankle stability, alleviate pain, and help prevent additional injury. They help increase your strength and mobility.

Standing Calf Raises

Standing with your feet hip-width apart, preferably at the edge of a step while holding a railing for balance. This can also be done standing next to a table or a counter to hold onto for balance.

Stand on your toes, raising your heels up, and then lowering them down.

Do Ten Repetitions once a day.

Draw the Alphabet

This can be performed standing or lying on your back. 

Lie on your back or stand next to a sturdy chair for support.

Lift one leg and draw the first Alphabet with your toes,  flex your foot, and then draw every letter of the alphabet with your toes.

Perform this with both feet once every day.

Hand-Foot War

Sitting on a chair, place your right foot flat on the floor.

Bending forward, extend your right hand against the outside of your foot and push.

Resisting the pressure with your foot, hold for 10 seconds.

Next, placing your hand on the inside of your foot, repeat the push and resistance.

Repeat on your left foot.

Repeat 10 times on each foot, once a day.

Stand on One Foot

Standing next to a sturdy chair with your feet hip-width apart and holding the chair for balance, lift one foot off the floor.

After balancing on one foot for 10 to 20 seconds, repeat with the other foot.

Flex and Stretch

Lying on your back, heels on the floor, and toes pointing toward the ceiling, steadily point your toes as far away from yourself as you can.

Hold the position for 3 seconds.

Do 10 Repetitions, once every day.

Heel Walks

In case of balance issues or if you are prone to falling, stand next to a long wall that can support you for balance:

Lift the front of your feet off the floor by raising your toes to stand on your heels. 

Walk across the room like this.

Repeat once a day

Resistance Push

A resistance band will be required for this exercise:

Sit on a chair and raise your foot off the floor. Placing a resistance band under the ball of your foot, hold the ends of the band with your hands. 

Slowly push your ankle down as far as you can.

Slowly return your foot to the beginning position.

Repeat 10 times on each foot.

Additional Note

The major role player in long-term overall health is Muscle- Balance. 

Overworked muscles induce a domino effect as we age, leaving us with joints that ache, chronic pain, and ankle arthritis.

How we stand throughout the day is very important. Putting more weight on one side, unintentional hip-shifts while holding babies can have a direct effect on your ankles.

Regular stretching is the best method to manage ankle pain. Steady and gauged stretches strengthen the muscles around ankle joints resulting in lesser pain and more flexibility.

But be careful to not overdo the stretching regime. If you overstretch too quickly, it can result in damage to the muscle, causing more pain than you were already undergoing.

Few Specific cardio exercises can work wonders for sudden ankle pain without injury. Start steadily with small repetitions, building up the strength gradually. 

The focus has to be on healing. Giving the ankle muscles time to recover after they have worked, helps them recover.  So fix rest days for your exercise regime or physical rehabilitation program.

To find out the best options for you to ease your ankle pain visit Dr. Tanvir Bhutani, the best orthopedic surgeon in Ludhiana. The goal of the team at the Eva Hospital is to help you lead a pain-free life