Be Confident in Your Movement with Good Ankle Support
Friday, January 10, 2014
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has never tweaked their ankle to some degree. Roughly 25,000 people sprain their ankle every day. It is such a quick incident, but it can take weeks, or even months, to nurse a sprained ankle back to health, and even more time until you are completely comfortable continuing any activity that has the potential to reinjure it.
Preventative exercises aren’t particularly fun and exciting, and most of us prefer short-term, superficial results. However, ankle support exercise fitness workouts help decrease your chances of injury brought on by poor balance, inflexibility, and weak surrounding muscles.
When the elastic band breaks
The ankle consists of 3 main parts that control motion, stability, and support: bones, ligaments, and tendons. All parts are susceptible to damage depending on the severity of the ankle sprain, but usually the damage occurs when the outside ligaments surrounding the ankle joint are stretched or torn in a rapid movement. Ligaments are strong elastic bands of connective tissue, and an audible pop or snap often occurs during the injury.
A sprained ankle can be quite painful, and there is almost immediate swelling, stiffness, bruising, and the inability to place weight on the ankle in more serious cases. Injuries to your ankles will vary depending on how badly the ligaments are damaged and how many. Sometimes you may feel very little pain, even though there is a significant tear. Other times, the pain can become unbearable. Most people assume the injuries are always sprains, but sometimes X-rays are necessary to rule out fractures or breaks in the bones.
What is the cause of most sprained ankles? Poor balance. We have all been walking while daydreaming or deep in conversation with a friend when we suddenly misjudge the step off a curb. Rarely are people born with good balance, and you must practice to gain better control of your movements and to maintain proper body position. Increasing your balance boosts confidence and improves posture and spinal stability. The simplest way to improve balance is to stand up more. In today’s society, we spend an unnecessary amount of time sitting down, and our equilibrium suffers.
Bend, but don’t break
The ligaments in the ankle are elastic. Their functions are to hold the bones together and stretch to provide a range of motion. But, they must be conditioned to expect excessive stretching like any other area in the body. Therefore, the next time you jump and accidently come down on someone else’s foot, the ligaments can accommodate the sudden outward extension with limited soreness afterwards.
Build your supporting cast
A way to increase ankle support, as with any major joint, is to strengthen the muscles surrounding it. When traversing uneven terrain, the peroneal muscles around the arch of your foot and past your ankle work to mitigate outward movement. Injured or weak peroneal muscles cause the foot to invert, which is the most common way to sprain an ankle. Calf muscles connect the back of the ankle to the back of the knee. These muscles are used to point your foot. The posterior tibialis muscle supports the ankle from behind the shin to the inside of the ankle, and are used to point the foot and turn inwards.
5 Quick Exercises to Improve Ankle Support:
There are a few exercise fitness workouts that require little space and time, but greatly increase the balance, flexibility, and strength of the ankle and surrounding muscles.
Balance on one foot
The first exercise is as simple as it comes. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Put your arms out to the side of your body for stability. Lift your left leg about a foot off the floor and hold it for 30-60 seconds. Repeat twice on each leg.
Sit in a straight-back chair, and rest one of your legs on another chair out in front of you. It works best if you let your foot dangle a little off the edge. Slowly draw lowercase letters in the air by just rotating your ankle. Then, continue on to uppercase letters, and finally cursive letters. Repeat this exercise on both ankles twice a day.
Start the exercise by standing up straight. If you need to modify the exercise, use the back of a chair or a wall for a little assistance. Situate your feet hip-width apart. Slowly raise your heels off the floor until you are balancing on the balls of your feet. Hold the position for a couple seconds, then slowly lower your heels back to the floor. Repeat this exercise for 10-15 repetitions.
If you would like to increase the difficulty of the exercise, thus improving your balance and strength, tuck your left foot behind your right ankle and lift just your right heel off the floor and balance on the ball of one foot. Grab a couple ten-pound weights to add a bit of resistance to the workout.
Using a low elevated surface on the floor, like a phone book, stand with the balls of your feet on the book and your heels on the floor. Raise the heels of your feet to align with the book, and form a 90-degree angle. Hold the position for a couple seconds and allow your heels to fall back to the floor. Repeat this exercise until you are tired.
Tie a resistance band around the leg of a sturdy four-legged chair. While standing, put your right foot, the foot closest to the chair, into the band. Using the chair as support, cross your right foot over your left, as far as the elastic permits. Complete this exercise for at least 20 repetitions, and then switch sides to do the same movements.
Also, you can sit on the floor and wrap the resistance band around your toes with the other end in your hand. Slowly flex your feet forward, away from you, and then bring it back to the starting position. Complete at least 20 repetitions of this exercise as well.
So, next time you are sitting around just watching television, these are easy, convenient exercise fitness workouts that will go a long way in ankle support.