Strong ankles form the base of a strong foundation of your body. There are three main demands for the good health of your ankles. 

  • The first is to balance your body weight and provide stability. 

  • The second quality that is needed in the ankle is to effectively absorb the impact of forces. When you run, your lower limb has to absorb forces of three to four times your body weight on each step. When you jump and land, these forces are even higher. The inability to tolerate these impacts can cause injuries.

  • Finally, your ankles need to be stiff during rotations. This forms the stable platform upon which a large amount of force can be generated by the big muscles of the upper limb to move the body. 

However, strength is not all that you need. ankle mobility is equally important to prevent injuries. So what is ankle mobility? How is it important?

Ankle mobility is the flexibility of the ankle joint and its surrounding muscles and tendons. You can have a better range of motion during your activities if you have good ankle mobility. However, if your ankles are weak, you may be more prone to injuries. Let us first look at the symptoms of weak ankles.

Symptoms of Weak Ankles

If you have weak ankles, the most common sign would be that your ankles roll to the outside. There are other symptoms as well, including:

  • Issues in maintaining balance.

  • Soreness in the ankles and feet.

  • Increased frequency of ankle sprains or injuries.

  • Difficulty in keeping ankles straight in heels.

  • Twisting of ankles outward when walking.

If you would like to boost your sports performance, or your general flexibility, ankle exercises and stretching can improve your mobility and strength.

Exercises For Ankle Strengthening

1. Single Leg Balance

  • Stand on a flat surface with your feet shoulder-width apart. 

  • Stand on one foot by holding your arms out.

  • You can take the support of a chair or a nearby wall.

  • Do this daily, and try to increase the number of seconds you can keep steady on each leg till you can maintain the balance in that position for 60 seconds on each side.

  • Do 1 or 2 reps of this exercise on each side.

2. Standing Leg Lifts

  • Stand on one leg and slowly raise the heels off the ground to a count of six. 

  • Slowly lower the heel back down also to a count of six.

  • Repeat it five times on each leg to complete one set.

  • Do 2 to 3 sets of this exercise.

3. Ankle Circles

  • Sit or stand and lift one leg up in the air.

  • Make 20 to 30 circles in the air with your ankle in a clockwise direction.

  • Now make the circles in an anti-clockwise direction.

  • Work through the entire range of motion by moving slowly and engaging the muscles. 

  • Repeat this exercise with the other leg.

  • Do 2 to 3 reps of this exercise for each leg.

4. Heel Race Walking

  • Start by pressing your toes hard into the ground so that your heels lift slightly off the floor.

  • Now, walk keeping the heel elevated.

  • Do this exercise at least once a day for 5-10 mins.

Benefits of Ankle Strengthening Exercises

There are many benefits to ankle strengthening.

  • Strong ankles help in reducing the pressure on your ankle joint, which can help prevent injuries.

  • These exercises can increase your bone density leading to a reduced risk of degenerative bone diseases, such as osteoarthritis.

  • A strong foot arch helps in resisting compressive loads that determine whether your ankle joint can remain in proper alignment.

  • These exercises help improve your balance, thus reducing the risk of falls and injuries along with better movements, which is important in sports.

Strong, and flexible ankles strengthen the base of your body that holds you up. They are the key to improving your performance in sports, running, dancing and daily activities. Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you are recovering from any injury or illness.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.