Ankle instability is a problem that can lead to recurring injuries. The ankle can become unstable due to the overstretching of the lateral ankle ligament, which is located on the outer part of the ankle. With ankle instability, it can feel like the ankle is giving way, which is a big problem since an unstable ankle can lead to falls and other injuries.
The ankle is one of the most utilized joints in the body, and it is continuously subjected to stress. Athletes are prone to ankle instability, as the demands of their sports puts a lot of strain on their ankles. However, even non-athletes can develop this problem.
A poorly healed sprain, having weak glute strength, and being female are risk factors for ankle instability. Approximately 20 percent of ankle instability cases become chronic.
Here, we will discuss the strategies you can use to build stronger ankles and avoid recurring ankle injuries.
Build Stronger Ankles
Strong ankles provide a stable base for movement, support proper alignment, and prevent the most common ankle injuries. They also facilitate rehabilitation in the case of an injury.
To develop the muscles surrounding the ankle joint, incorporate the following into your regular exercise routine:
1. Using Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a great way to build ankle strength. Resistance bands come in different levels of resistance. Start with a band that provides enough tension to challenge your muscles but still allows you to perform the exercises with proper form.
- One example of an ankle exercise using resistance bands is ankle dorsiflexion. Loop a resistance band around a strong support at ground level, like a table or chair leg.
- Sit on the floor with your leg extended and loop the resistance band around the top of your foot.
- Keeping your heel on the ground, pull your toes towards your shin against the resistance of the band. Repeat 10 to 20 times for three to four sets.
2. Calf Raises
Calf raises are great for building strength in the calf muscles and stabilizing the ankle joints.
- Stand with your feet hips-width apart and raise your body onto your toes.
- Hold it for a second, and then lower your body back down to the ground.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times for three to four sets.
3. Balancing Exercises
Balancing exercises are a great way to improve ankle proprioception, or the sense of where your ankle is positioned in relation to space. This is a great way to reduce ankle instability.
- Stand on one leg while keeping your eyes closed, core engaged, and your body balanced. You can place your hands on a chair or wall for support, if needed.
- Focus on maintaining your balance and stability for about 30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.
Avoid Recurring Ankle Injuries
Here are some tips to avoid ankle injuries and keep chronic issues at bay:
1. Wear Proper Footwear
Wearing the proper footwear can make a big difference in preventing recurring ankle injuries. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause instability in your ankles. Shoes with adequate ankle support and traction can help prevent injuries. You should always wear the appropriate footwear for your activity.
2. Warm-Up Before Activities
Warming up before performing any physical activity is important in preventing injuries. Spend 5 to 10 minutes doing light aerobic exercises like jumping jacks or jogging to warm up the muscles.
3. Receive Proper Treatment for an Ankle Sprain
Proper treatment is critical for an ankle sprain and to prevent the development of ankle instability. Follow recommended rehabilitation protocols and check with your doctor or physical therapist whether or not it is safe to return to daily activities or sports.
Ankle Sprain/Ankle Instability Treatment in Cincinnati, OH
For the expert treatment of ankle sprains and ankle instability, trust the podiatrists at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care. If your ankle has become chronically unstable, our foot and ankle surgeons are trained in arthroscopic ankle repair to restore stability. The use of smaller incisions in arthroscopic procedures leads to a faster recovery period compared to open surgery.