Even in a city like Houston, where we have plenty of opportunities to be active and stay fit, it’s hard to participate if your ankle is giving out under you. Unstable ankles feel wobbly and may not support strong pressure or strenuous activity. The good news is that certain exercises target your joint specifically and could help significantly improve your ankle stability.
Unstable ankles are usually a side effect of an unhealed sprain or too many sprains to the same ankle. The ligaments that normally stabilize your joint are too loose and unable to support you in the way they should—so your foot feels wobbly and more easily collapses to one side under pressure. The problem can get worse, too, unless you do something to support your ankles.
This is where strengthening exercises come into play. Ligaments aren’t the only tissues that stabilize your ankles. Muscles and tendons also surround this joint and can help accommodate the overstretched connectors. The right exercises build up strength in your muscles and help your ankle learn how to be stable again. Here are a few you can use to boost your ankle stability:
- Resistance Band Pulls – Wrap a resistance band around your foot. Hold it out to one side while you rotate your ankle in the opposite direction so it presses against the band. Do this to both sides.
- Balancing Acts – Practice balancing on your unstable foot. As this gets easier, make it harder by closing your eyes or standing on a pillow.
- Heel Lowers – Stand on your toes on the edge of a step, so your heels are as high as they’ll go. Slowly lower your heels until they are level with the step. Rise back up and repeat ten times.
- Ankle Circles – Holding your foot out, rotate it in circles at the ankle ten times in each direction.
- Figure Eights – Walk briskly in a figure eight pattern. Each day, make your figure eight slightly bigger and walk a little faster.