As the weather gets warmer, the desire to get outside to exercise naturally increases. If you’re like most people then you’d much rather get your cardio done by doing something fun and distracting like sport, rather than being on a treadmill inside. That’s great, and sports are the best way to burn a ton of calories without even thinking twice about how long you’re playing. Unfortunately playing sports comes with its own risks and one of the most common injuries a sprained ankle. Although it doesn’t sound like much, a sprained ankle varies in severity and can be anywhere from a slight roll to nasty, crippling injury.
Speaking from personal experience, not less than a week ago I was playing basketball, jumped up for the ball and came down with all my weight and ended up rolling my ankle. Not only is this terrifying but an eye-opener as well. Escaping with just a bad “grade 2 sprain,” I could have easily fractured a bone or worse. Why wasn’t it worse? Luck, maybe. The fact that I have a strong muscular foundation surrounding and supporting my ankle is what kept me from completely shattering it. The muscles around your ankle hold it together, think of it like a house; you wouldn’t want your house built out of sticks. Same premise applies.
Here are some exercises to help keep your ankle strong and supported:
1) Single Leg Medicine Ball Toss:
Square off with a partner and toss a medicine ball back and forth while standing on one leg. Make it harder by balancing on a foam pad. Shoot for 60 seconds, 5 times.
2) Balance Foam:
Use one foot to stand on a balance foam for as long as you can without toppling over. Focus on stabilizing at the ankle. Do 5 sets for maximal time.
3) Resisted Ankle Pumps:
Sit down and place a mini resistance band around both feet. Strengthen your ankles by rotating your feet upward and outward, against the resistance. Do at least 3 sets of 15.
4) Calf Raises:
This exercise teaches your ankles to have control when your body shifts weight. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, shift weight onto your toes, and slowly lift your heels off the ground. Keep your ankles in a neutral position to prevent them from rolling out
By Tyler Palmquist