Ankle injuries happen every day. But many of these injuries are preventable. If you play high-mobility sports such as basketball, soccer, or volleyball, your ankles see serious rough-handling that increases the chances of injuries. Mobility and range of motion exercises can protect your ankles from injury and enable you to perform at the highest level. Here are six simple stretches to prevent ankle injuries.
1. Ankle Rolls
To do this mobility-enhancing stretch, sit on the floor or a chair and raise your leg into the air. Then make five large, medium, and small circles by rolling your ankle clockwise. Repeat the procedure in the counterclockwise direction. Do the same for the other leg and repeat for as long as possible.
2. Ankle Alphabet
For this exercise, you sit on a chair or on the floor. Raise your leg into the air and use your toes to draw each letter of the alphabet. Repeat the same procedure for the other leg and continue for as long as possible.
3. Ankle Inversion
You will need a resistance band for this stretch. To do this, sit on the ground, extending one leg and bending the other at the knee. Secure the end of the band on an object and place your foot in the loop. Pull your foot inward and then return to the starting position slowly. Perform 50 repetitions and then repeat for the other leg.
4. Ankle Dorsiflexion
This workout also requires the same setup as the point above. Take the same sitting position and place your foot in the resistance band’s loop. Then pull your foot toward your shin and gradually return to the starting position. Perform 50 reps and repeat the process for the second leg.
5. Single Leg Hops
This stretch is plyometric exercise that works even the knee and hip muscles. For this exercise, stand on one foot and hop, maintaining ankle stability. Perform 20 reps and repeat for the other leg.
6. Single Leg Calf Raises
Calf raises are simple although it can be difficult with a sprained ankle. To do this exercise, stand on one leg and lift your body with the ball of your feet. You can increase the difficulty by holding a pair of dumbbells in both hands while doing the exercise. Perform 20 reps before switching legs and repeat for as long as possible.
The ankles are delicate and yet bear so much weight. Whether you are a professional athlete, a busy person who spends several hours on foot, or a casual gym goer, a strong ankle is essential for optimal performance. With the above exercises, you can improve ankle strength and range of motion and also prevent many injuries that afflict the lower extremities.