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What Are the Different Types of Ankle Strengthening Exercises?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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There are various ankle strengthening exercises that help to stretch and build up the muscles that support the ankle, which are important to do both to prevent injuries, and to heal from any existing ones. Most ankle strengthening exercises are simply based around stability and balance, stretching the ankle, and increasing the amount of weight it can support in various ways. This can include things like standing on one foot, doing calf raises, or using a resistance band to move the foot and stretch the ankle. Following an injury to the ankle, it is important to take it slow and follow the advice of a doctor or physical therapist before putting too much weight on it or doing vigorous exercise.

Athletes, and, or people who just enjoy exercises such as running or dancing generally look for ankle strengthening exercises to try to prevent injuries from ankle twists or falls. However, people of any age or physical ability can benefit from ankle strengthening exercises, because it is easy enough to twist and sprain an ankle due to weak muscles. One of the simplest and most often recommended exercises for strengthening the ankle is to simply begin by standing on one foot, and holding this balanced position for as long as possible.

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Once an individual becomes good at balancing on one foot, making sure to switch feet regularly to strengthen both ankles, there are ways to make this simple exercise more challenging. Some people will play catch with someone else while standing on one foot; this is also a pretty simple exercise, but it requires good balance to throw a ball back and forth, requiring the use of supporting ankle muscles to stay upright. Other options include lifting weights while doing this, or standing on a slightly unstable surface such as a balance board.

Calf raises, performed both seated and standing, are another good choice for ankle strengthening exercises. In addition, a resistance band, which is available in various levels of resistance, is another easy way to strengthen the ankle. Wrap it around the foot, and then flex and extend the foot in various directions. It will be necessary to do a number of repetitions, but strengthening smaller muscles such as those that support the ankle always takes more time and effort than building up the larger muscle groups. This is a common exercise for rehabilitative programs following an injury to the ankle.

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