If you have ever experienced a sprained ankle or foot, then you know how painful and frustrating it can be. Not only is the pain difficult to deal with, but it also takes time for your feet to heal. As someone who was an athlete for most of their entire life, a twisted ankle or any injury resulting in time missed in a game, missed practices, or having to quit the sport altogether can be frustrating and demoralizing. When people have an ankle or foot issue, it can take them out of the game for a long time.
Fortunately, with proper rehab exercises and good recovery techniques, patients can get back into the game in just a few weeks. Making sure your feet and ankles are fully recovered and in tip-top shape can assure you that missed time in practices or games will not happen. If you want to avoid these problems in the future, then strengthening exercises for your ankles and feet will help tremendously!
How to Strengthen Ankles and Feet
Here are four recommended exercises a person with a foot or ankle injury can use to recover faster and become stronger. These feet and ankle exercises are not only designed for recovery, but they are also great for injury prevention.
Band exercises have been a common exercise to do while recovering from a twisted ankle to help increase strength and range of motion. Bands of different strength levels can be used in a series of progression to help the patient in each aspect of recovery.
The bands can be used in three directions, with the foot pulling in the opposite direction, causing the band to stretch while the foot is being activated, whether it be a ligament, muscle, or tendon. For example, in an inversion ankle sprain, the most common ankle element injured is the anterior talofibular ligament, which runs on the lateral side of the ankle. One of the best ways to strengthen this ligament back to normal is to wrap a resistance band around the top of your foot and secure the other side of the band with a heavy object, such as a bedpost, or have a partner assist you. Move your foot at the ankle from each side while the other side is secured. Doing repetitions of 10, three times is recommended.
The use of marbles may seem strange; however, if you have ever had an issue with the bottom of your foot, such as plantar fasciitis, this will help build strength and increase flexibility in the main flexors and extensors in your foot. The main flexor of the foot is the flexor digitorum longus which assists in flexing the toes and the bottom of the foot. The main objective of using marbles is to pick up each marble one by one, from off the floor and into a jar or bucket. This can be repeated twice or three times, depending on how many marbles you have.
Calf Raises are an excellent exercise to do for increasing ankle and overall leg strength. Calf raises are one of the best exercises to strengthen the posterior leg muscles, known as the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles. The posterior leg muscles are responsible for foot flexion, as well as knee stability. By working on building strength in these posterior leg muscles, the risk of foot and ankle injuries can be significantly reduced. Calf raises can be done with weights or done by standing against a wall or railing.
The balance pad is all about proprioception. Also referred to as kinaesthesia, proprioception refers to one’s sense of self-movement and body position. The balance pad, which is a foam block, is designed to help you keep your balance while standing on one foot on an uneven, unpredictable surface. The balance pad requires you to focus on standing on one foot, while also firing all the muscles around your leg and foot to help counterbalance as you feel yourself falling.
Contact USA Sports Today for Professional Help
If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain related to an injury, the exercises above are a great way to achieve temporary relief. However, that rolled ankle may lead to years of pain and discomfort without proper professional treatment, physical therapy, and recovery. That is why at USA Sports Therapy, we have a team of licensed professionals to help you achieve long-term success, whether it is for an ankle sprain, a foot sprain, or anything in between.
To learn more about our services and how we can assist you with your individual case, fill out a contact form or call us at (305) 479-2973.