Stretching and Exercise for Ankle InstabilityEver since that severe ankle sprain, you’ve taken up couch surfing as your main rehabilitation method. Who wouldn’t, with National TV Dinner Day coming up on Wednesday, September 10? However, you didn’t realize that too must resting would cause your ankles to grow weak and unstable. Here’s how to manage that ankle instability to make sure you don’t sprain your ligaments again.

Since ankles grow weak from too little action, you need to invest in some stretching and exercises to rehabilitate your way back to health. Start slowly and perform exercises that only require you to push against something for a stretch, instead of using your entire body weight and range of motion.

Many times ankles are weak due to abnormal biomechanics. This can cause the ankle to roll outward for no reason at all. Good functional orthotics will help in resolving this problem.

Push against a heavy object, like a couch (or a TV!), while pointing your foot down and in. Hold this pose for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times. Do the same thing, but hold your foot up and out.

Before a workout, make sure you’re warming up for 5 to 10 minutes. You can do this by walking, going up and down the stairs a few times, riding your bike, or using a jump rope. You can also try these three different types of exercises:

  1. Sit down and place your legs straight in front of you. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the floor. Push down on your thighs while you take your heels up and off the floor. For an advanced exercise, perform the same motions while standing and holding a dumbbell in both hands.

  2. While sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat, push your hands onto your thighs again and point your toes toward you, keeping your heels on the floor.

  3. Turn your soles toward each other while you walk on the outside of your feet. Then, lift your toes while you walk on your feet. Reverse and try walking on your tiptoes.

If you continue to experience ankle instability, don’t hesitate to contact the McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group at (916) 961-3434.

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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