Weak Ankles? Read on!
Most of the time if you suffer an ankle sprain, there is no formal treatment. If you do seek medical attention, you’ll probably be told to put some ice on it, maybe wear a brace for a few days, and that’s about it. But, did you know that if you have sprained your ankle in the past, you have an almost 95% chance of having chronic ankle sprain? The good news is that you can take steps to keep this from happening. Exercise can help strengthen your ankles, stretch your calf and increase the stability of the injured leg. This can keep you from re-injuring the same ankle again.
How do you sprain your ankle?
Most ankle sprains occur during sports or other activities. The most common type is an inversion sprain, when you roll to the outside of your ankle and your foot turns inward. After this happens, the ligaments on the outer part of your ankle can become sprained, or even overstretched. If this happens repeatedly, those same ligaments can get too loose, setting you up for future sprains.
What should you do when you sprain your ankle?
When the injury first happens, try to apply ice as soon as possible and elevate your leg. It’s also good to lightly try and move it in each direction, but only go as far as you can without causing too much pain. If you are not able to stand or walk on it, then you will want to go to the doctor’s office or urgent care. Here, they might do an x-ray to make sure it’s not broken. Sometimes you will be given crutches to help take some of the pressure off while it heals.
If you are able to walk on it, then you will want to start some exercises that will help you regain the stability, as long as you can do them with little pain.
One leg balance: Practice standing on the injured leg several times a day. Try to hold the position for up to 20 seconds.
Calf Stretch: Stand with one leg behind the other. Keeping the back knee straight, lunge forward until you feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg. Hold this position for a count of 20. Repeat 3 times.
Try these exercises for a week or two and see if your ankle feels more stable. It may help to prevent re-injury.
Lower impact cardio exercises, like walking or biking, can be done relatively quickly after injury, as long as they don’t cause more pain. Higher impact ones, like running, may require you to wait longer. The idea is to only do the ones you can do with minimal pain; if you push yourself too hard you will only delay the healing process.