The days a little longer now, the sun is shining more often, and there are more outdoor activities to do with the onset of the up and coming summer season. This does not only apply for athletes but also for everyone else that is outside and being active. Your ankles support your bodies’ weight and with every step you take, they support and stabilize how you walk. So, before you go outside and play in a pickup game or enjoy a nice walk or run, be sure to take note of some helpful tips you can use every day to ensure your ankles stay strong and you keep moving forward.
One of the most common injuries to the foot/ankle is an ankle sprain. A sprain is a stretching injury which may involve partial or complete tearing of a ligament, and in this case it’s the ankle. To ensure that your ankles stay strong to help minimize the chance of injury or sprain you can do simple exercises at home that do not take a great deal of time. Begin with one of the easiest exercises is to simply balance yourself on one foot. Be sure to stand on both feet, one foot at a time, for equal amounts of time. Balancing yourself on one foot helps to develop proprioception, how your body orients itself in space or “balance”. Simple stretching can be performed by sitting a chair and rotating your foot around in circles for 30 seconds at a time. 30 seconds clockwise, and then 30 seconds counterclockwise. This will help expand and stretch the tissues in your ankle. Purchasing resistance bands or stretch bands are also another great way to stretch out your ankles. They are inexpensive and can be found in any sports store. You can start with light weight resistance by sitting on the floor with the end of the band around the balls of your feet and then press your foot down against the resistant band. You can do this on both feet 10 times each foot.
Another very safe way to stretch the ankle is to press your foot against something solid, like a wall or something immovable. You should have shoes on for this exercise, then press the side of your foot against it in one direction and then turn around and press in the opposite direction.
Always be sure to check your shoes so they are laced up and are a well-balanced fit for you. If you are unsure if shoes are for you, feel free to contact Dr. Theall’s Gentle Touch Footcare office for a proper gait and foot evaluation to make sure your foot health is taken care of. If the sole of the shoe is worn or ripped, it is time for new shoes. Torn soles and ripped sides of the shoe will not support you or your ankles when walking or doing other activities on your feet. The older the shoe, the greater the chance your ankle may ‘roll’ to one side or another, and this will cause injury or sprain.
If there are any other questions feel free to contact Dr. Theall’s Gentle Touch Footcare office for all your foot and ankle needs and concerns at 973 673 - 3668. Remember to support the ankles and they will support you.