The Top 5 Ankle Sprain Prevention Exercises

Introduction

Ankle sprains are a common injury that occurs when the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint are stretched or torn. They can happen to anyone, regardless of age or fitness level, and are often caused by twisting or rolling the ankle. But in many cases can be avoided by doing some ankle sprain prevention exercises. Ankle sprains can be painful and limit your ability to participate in physical activities. According to statistics, approximately 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day in the United States alone.

Fortunately, there are exercises that can help prevent ankle sprains from occurring. By strengthening the muscles around the ankle joint and improving balance and stability, these exercises can help reduce the risk of injury. In this article, we will discuss the top 5 exercises you can do to prevent ankle sprains and provide instructions on how to perform them correctly.

Incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine can help you maintain strong and healthy ankles, and reduce your risk of experiencing a debilitating ankle injury.

Exercise 1: Resistance Band Ankle Eversion

Resistance band ankle eversion is the first of our ankle sprain prevention exercises and targets the muscles on the outside of the ankle, which are important for maintaining stability and preventing ankle sprains. To perform the exercise, you will need a resistance band.

Instructions

      1. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
      2. Loop the resistance band around the ball of your foot and hold the other end of the band with your hand.
      3. Slowly move your foot outward, away from your other foot, against the resistance of the band.
      4. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then slowly return your foot to the starting position.
      5. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions, then switch to the other foot.

    Benefits

    Resistance band ankle eversion helps to strengthen the muscles on the outside of the ankle, which can help prevent ankle sprains. Additionally, it can improve balance and stability, which are important for overall foot and ankle health.

    Common Mistakes

    One common mistake when performing resistance band ankle eversion is using too much resistance. Start with a lighter resistance band and gradually increase the resistance as you become stronger. Another mistake is not keeping your foot and ankle in the correct position. Make sure your foot is flat on the ground and your ankle is in a neutral position.

    Tips for Increasing Difficulty

    To increase the difficulty of the exercise, you can use a heavier resistance band or increase the number of repetitions. You can also try performing the exercise while standing instead of sitting, or incorporating it into a larger workout routine for the lower body.

    Exercise 2: Single-Leg Balance

    bosses feet on the beachSingle-Leg Balancing

    Single-leg balance is a simple exercise that can help improve balance and stability, which are important for preventing ankle sprains. To perform the exercise, all you need is a flat surface and enough space to stand on one leg.

    Instructions

        1. Stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent.
        2. Keep your other foot slightly off the ground and hold it behind your standing leg.
        3. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, or as long as you can maintain your balance.
        4. Repeat on the other leg. 

      Benefits

      Single-leg balance helps to improve balance and stability, which can reduce the risk of ankle sprains. It also strengthens the muscles in your feet and lower legs, which can improve overall foot health.

      Common Mistakes

      One common mistake when performing single-leg balance is not keeping your knee slightly bent. This can make it more difficult to maintain your balance. Another mistake is not engaging your core muscles. Keep your core muscles engaged to help stabilize your body.

      Tips for Increasing Difficulty

      To increase the difficulty of the exercise, you can try closing your eyes or standing on a soft, uneven surface like a pillow or foam pad. You can also try incorporating other movements, such as lifting your free leg to the side or front or reaching your arms out to the side or overhead. Start with a shorter duration and fewer repetitions and gradually increase as your balance improves.

      Exercise 3: Heel Walks

      bosses feet on pebbles

      Walking on Heels

       

      Heel walks are a simple ankle sprain prevention exercise that can help improve ankle strength and flexibility. To perform the exercise, all you need is a flat surface and enough space to walk.

      Instructions

          1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead.
          2. Lift your toes off the ground, so you are standing on your heels.
          3. Walk forward, taking small steps and keeping your weight on your heels.
          4. Continue for 10-20 steps, then rest and repeat for 2-3 sets.

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        Benefits

        Heel walks help to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your feet and lower legs, which can help prevent ankle sprains. They can also improve ankle flexibility and range of motion, which can help you maintain good posture and balance.

        Common Mistakes

        One common mistake when performing heel walks is allowing your weight to shift forward onto your toes. Make sure to keep your weight on your heels throughout the exercise. Another mistake is taking too large steps, which can cause you to lose your balance. Take small, controlled steps to maintain stability.

        Tips for Increasing Difficulty

        To increase the difficulty of the exercise, you can try walking on your tiptoes instead of your heels. You can also try incorporating different movements, such as walking sideways or walking backward. Additionally, you can add ankle weights or hold onto dumbbells to increase the resistance. Start with a shorter duration and fewer repetitions and gradually increase as your ankle strength improves.

        Exercise 4: Calf Raises

        exercise to improve feetCalf Raises

        Calf raises are a simple exercise that can help strengthen the calf muscles, which can in turn help prevent ankle sprains. This ankle sprain prevention exercise can be done anywhere and does not require any equipment.

        Instructions

            1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your weight evenly distributed across both feet.
            2. Slowly raise up onto your toes, lifting your heels off the ground.
            3. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your heels back down to the ground.
            4. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets. 

          Benefits

          Calf raises target the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calves. These muscles are important for ankle stability and can help reduce the risk of ankle sprains. Additionally, strong calf muscles can help improve overall lower body strength and balance.

          Common Mistakes

          One common mistake when performing calf raises is allowing your weight to shift forward onto your toes. Keep your weight evenly distributed across both feet throughout the exercise. Another mistake is lifting too quickly or using momentum to lift your heels. Make sure to lift slowly and with control to maximize the benefits of the exercise.

          Tips for Increasing Difficulty

          To increase the difficulty of the exercise, you can try doing single-leg calf raises or holding weights in your hands while performing the exercise. You can also try doing the exercise on an unstable surface, such as a balance board or foam pad, to challenge your balance and improve ankle stability.

          Exercise 5: Lateral Hops

          ankle sprain prevention exercises

          Lateral hops are a plyometric ankle sprain prevention exercise that can help improve ankle strength, stability, and balance. This exercise involves jumping from side to side, which can also help improve agility and coordination.

          Instructions

              1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent.
              2. Jump to the right, landing on your right foot with your left foot lifted off the ground.
              3. Immediately jump to the left, landing on your left foot with your right foot lifted off the ground.
              4. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets.

            Benefits

            Lateral hops can help strengthen the muscles in the ankles and feet, which can help prevent ankle sprains. Additionally, this exercise can improve balance, coordination, and agility, which are all important for athletic performance and injury prevention.

            Common Mistakes

            One common mistake when performing lateral hops is not landing softly on the balls of your feet. Make sure to absorb the impact of each landing to reduce stress on your joints. Another mistake is not using your arms to help with the movement. Swing your arms in the direction of the jump to generate more power and improve your overall form.

            Tips for Increasing Difficulty

            To increase the difficulty of this ankle sprain prevention exercise, you can try jumping further to the right and left or increasing the height of the jumps. You can also try doing the exercise on an unstable surface, such as a balance board or foam pad, to challenge your balance and improve ankle stability.

            Conclusion

            Ankle sprains are a common injury, but they can be prevented by incorporating ankle sprain prevention exercises that improve ankle strength, stability, and balance. The five exercises mentioned in this article - resistance band ankle eversion, single leg balance, heel walks, calf raises, and lateral hops - are effective in preventing ankle sprains and improving overall ankle health.

            By adding these exercises to your regular fitness routine, you can reduce your risk of injury and improve your athletic performance. Don't wait until you experience an ankle sprain to start incorporating these exercises - start today and protect your ankles long-term!

            You could also try our 12-week online foot fitness program and give your feet a workout targeted to their unique needs!

            FAQs

            What is an ankle sprain?

            An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that connect the bones in the ankle are stretched or torn, usually as a result of twisting or rolling the ankle.

            How common are ankle sprains?

            Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries, with approximately 25,000 people experiencing them each day in the United States alone.

            Can ankle sprains be prevented?

            Yes, ankle sprains can be prevented by strengthening the muscles around the ankle, improving balance and stability, and wearing proper footwear.

            How do these exercises help prevent ankle sprains?

            The exercises mentioned in this article improve ankle strength, stability, and balance, which helps to reduce the risk of twisting or rolling the ankle during physical activity.

            Are there any other exercises that can help prevent ankle sprains?

            Yes, there are other exercises that can help prevent ankle sprains, such as ankle circles, toe raises, and ankle dorsiflexion.

            How often should I do these exercises to prevent ankle sprains?

            It is recommended to perform these exercises at least two to three times per week to see improvements in ankle strength and stability, but it’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it. It’s also a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

            *Please note that the answers provided here are for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan based on your specific condition.

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