If you’re an avid exerciser, it’s easy to feel invincible. But while you may think of your ankle as one of the most stable joints in your body, research shows that it is actually one of the most frequently injured areas! And men are twice as likely to suffer from ankle injuries than women. Ankle injuries are common in sports and other physical activities, but they can also happen in day-to-day life. Keeping your ankle healthy and protected with the right gear is vital for preventing injury. In this blog, you will find hiking stretches to avoid ankle injuries and why your client’s ankle exercise rehabilitation program is not working.
Most Common Ankle Injury
One of the most common types of ankle injury is a sprain or tear to one or more ligaments responsible for stabilizing your foot on your lower leg and arch and providing support when you walk. Ankle sprains can range from mild to severe but typically take around three weeks to heal completely without treatment.
In some cases where there has been significant tearing instead of just stretching, it may be necessary for surgical repair before healing can fully occur. This type would likely need about six months of recovery time after surgery before being able to return to regular activity with increased risk for re-injury due to an inadequate amount of strengthening during physical therapy sessions following surgery (such as strength and flexibility exercises).
Many injuries can occur in the ankle, but some often lead to pain and reduced mobility. If you’ve been diagnosed with a sprain, tear, or fracture, it’s best to talk to your doctor before trying any exercises. A sprained ankle is when the ligaments around the joint have been torn. It can lead to swelling and pain. A torn ligament can be treated with rest and ice – but only when your doctor recommends. You may also want to get crutches or use a brace while your ankle heals. A torn ligament will take six weeks on average to heal.
Exercises to Overcome Ankle Injury
If you have a sprain, it’s important not to put any weight on the injured leg for 24-48 hours after experiencing an injury because it could worsen. Once you’ve rested for 24-48 hours and no more prolonged experience pain at rest, try doing these exercises:
Ankle Mobility Exercise
The first exercise is a simple ankle mobility exercise. The goal is to move your foot up and down and in and out. This can help restore natural motion to the joints, reducing the pain of the injury.
Stand facing toward the wall with your feet about one foot apart from each other. Put your hands on the wall for balance. Slowly bend your knees and push off with one foot to use just one leg for balance. Keep doing this until you’ve reached the end of the range of motion. Then switch sides by reaching out with the opposite foot and pushing off with it until you go a full range of motion on that side too. Continue doing this slowly and carefully until your muscles start to tire, then stop and switch positions yet again.
Doing these exercises will strengthen the muscles around your ankle, which can help it heal faster and better than if you continued doing nothing at all!
Plantar Flexion Exercise
This exercise helps improve the strength and coordination of your foot and ankle. Plantar flexion is important because most of the weight on your feet goes through them.
To do this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can put a small pillow under your heel if you want to make it feel less strenuous on your back. With one foot, roll the ball of that foot as far under as possible while keeping it in contact with the ground.
Remember to keep your arch from flattening out, and don’t let any part of the ball of your foot touch the ground. Keep rolling until you feel a stretch in the bottom of that foot, then switch sides and repeat. Repeat five times on each side, holding for 10 seconds at the end of each repetition to work on balance.
Ankle Strengthening Exercise
Place your foot on a step or curb and flex your foot. This can be done by stepping up on the heel of your uninjured foot, bending the injured foot in your shoe, and then lowering it back down. Repeat this for 10 repetitions.
Back and Gluteal Toning Exercise
One exercise to help your ankle is the back and gluteal toning exercise. This exercise might be helpful if you have a high-level ankle sprain.
To do this, lay on your back with both knees bent. Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor. Now, push your hips up, hold for three seconds, and then relax. Reverse these steps as you complete five reps of the exercise. If it hurts to push up and keep your hips for three seconds, start by holding for one second at a time. Once that gets easier, increase the hold duration until you reach three seconds.
Ankle Injuries are Huge
That is why I have chatted so much about them on the blog. If you dig in the archives of the blog, you will find a hiking stretch to prevent ankle injuries and why your client’s ankle exercise rehabilitation program is not working.
Now back to this post. My 23-month-old son suffered an ankle sprain. Ya! 23 months old. He was playing in the playground and came off the slide funny. I was there and watch it. It was a classic inversion sprain.
I think it was because of the oversized running shoes he was wearing. It slowed him down but he was able to continue playing. We noticed it even more later that night. His gait was off and his ankle was sloppy. He bounces back very quickly. I will keep an eye on that right ankle to see what happens over the next little while.
Now to the interview. I interviewed Jimmy Smith, who is a personal trainer in Stamford, Connecticut. Jimmy shared a number of tips on how he used exercise to overcome his ankle injury plus his approach to clients with injuries.
What Jimmy Smith Covers in the Interview on Exercise and Ankle Injuries:
- His story of ankle injuries
- Ankle injuries and low back pain
- Exercises he did to overcome his ankle injury
- Stretching exercises that helped his ankle injury
- How does he approach a client that has had an injury
- Advice for trainers that are afraid of clients with injuries
Exercise and Ankle Injuries Interview with Jimmy Smith
CLICK HERE to watch the Jimmy Smith interview on exercises and ankle injuries
Thank you so much Jimmy for the great interview. To get more information on Jimmy Smith make sure you visit http://jimmysmithtraining.com/
If you’ve ever had an ankle injury, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with the pain and to feel like you can’t do things that you used to be able to do. Fortunately, there are exercises that you can do to overcome ankle injuries. The key is to keep exercising and follow a plan to improve your mobility, strengthen your ankle, and tone other parts of your body. It’s never easy, but it will get easier with time.
P.S. – If you are looking for exercises for your clients with ankle injuries, I would recommend attending these courses for fitness professionals:
- Exercise Rehabilitation of the Ankle & Foot
- Balance Training for the Rehab Client
That is it for now.