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The Top Three Activities for Protecting the Ankles

Ankle injuries are, unfortunately, a very common problem. The American College of Sports Medicine estimates that 25,000 Americans sprain their ankles every day, and every year, 9 million people suffer from sprains. Other injuries, such as fractures and strains, are less common but still affect a large number of people. In light of this, people who have weak ankles, past injuries, or a very active lifestyle have plenty of reason to worry about protecting their complex ankles while staying fit and healthy. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to be active while protecting ankle health and function. 

1. Spend Some Time Standing

Spending time on the feet and allowing the ankles to bear weight is critical to preventing the joint from becoming stiff or weak. Simply standing in place offers benefits, but walking is one of the best ways to maintain a normal range of motion. Longer walks are beneficial as long as they do not cause excessive pain. Walks on trails should be limited or avoided entirely, however, since uneven surfaces can increase the risk of a twist or strain. Stairs and steep pitches should also be limited if they cause too much strain or discomfort.

2. Exercise, but Lower the Impact

For people who want to stay in shape and do something besides walking, finding ankle-friendly exercises that build strength or endurance may seem difficult. However, the following exercises offer a great workout and use the ankle without overburdening it:

  • Using a rowing machine
  • Exercising on an elliptical or stationary bike
  • Doing yoga on a padded mat
  • Standing still and hitting a punching bag 
  • Swimming or doing water aerobics 

Of course, it is still important to pay attention to ankle pain when doing these exercises. People who have had fractures, sprains, or tears should be especially alert to signs that they might be putting too much strain on their ankles.

3. Start Special Strengthening Exercises

Performing exercises to actively strengthen the ankles is always a smart decision for people with medical histories or concerns about future problems. Calf raises, which are performed by standing flatfooted and raising the heels to stand in a tiptoe position, can improve stability and muscle strength in the ankle. Balancing exercises, such as balancing on one foot or balancing with both feet halfway off a step, also strengthen muscles near the ankle. Flexing the upper part of the foot forward or backward against a resistance band is another great way to boost strength with little risk of strain or injury. Collectively, these exercises can help anyone who is concerned with the prospect of ankle problems, including athletes, laborers, and elderly people.

Recognizing Activities to Avoid

People who have already experienced ankle problems should limit activities that are more strenuous than those described above, such as jogging and playing high-impact sports. People who are proactively showing concern for their ankle health, meanwhile, should pay attention to discomfort during exercises or lingering pain afterward and adjust their routines accordingly. When ankle pain does not respond to resting or icing, victims can benefit from visiting a doctor to determine whether a personal habit, a one-time trauma, or some other factor is causing the pain. Then, victims can know with certainty which activities they need to avoid in the future.

Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.