We all know that prevention is better than cure when it comes to our health so what preventative measures can you take to prevent foot and ankle injuries?
Our bodies are designed for movement and the old adage use it or lose it really does apply. To keep joints and muscles healthy and active we need to keep them moving. We lead increasingly sedentary lives and often wear ill-fitting shoes, which over time, erodes our foot and ankle health. We need to be proactive about maintaining joint mobility, especially in our feet and ankles, to maintain health and prevent injury. Incorporating specific stretches into our daily routine is an easy way to achieve this.
Here are some simple stretches that you should try to do on a daily basis to improve overall strength and range of motion in your ankles and feet. By performing these stretches along with seeing a podiatrist wellington FL your mobility will be at it’s absolute best.
The first set of stretches can be done in a seated position, so they are perfect to do while at the office or watching TV at home. These stretches are gentle and focus on improving your range of motion. It is preferable to remove your shoes so your movement is not restricted.
- Ankle circles – Raise your foot off the ground. This exercise can be done with the leg bent at 90 degrees or extended out straight. Rotate your ankles 360 degrees in one direction for 10 rotations and change direction and do another 10. It may help to imagine you are drawing a circle in the air with your big toe. Repeat the exercise with the other foot.
- Toe points – From a seated position extend your right leg out in front of you. Now point and flex your foot 10 times and repeat with your left leg.
- Side flex – Again extend your right leg out in front of you. This time try to flex your foot inwards towards your other leg and then outwards away from the other leg. Only move your foot not your leg. It is a small movement and you may find it difficult at first. Repeat the movement 10 times on each leg.
- Toe Curls – This exercise can be done with your foot on the ground or raised in the air. Simply curl your toes under, hold for 2 seconds and then release. Repeat 10 times then change feet.
Here are some additional exercises you can try from a standing position. The introduction of body weight and gravity forces your muscles to work harder and this will strengthen your ankles and improve ankle stability.
- Heel raises – Stand with your legs together, feet flat on the ground. Now rise up on to your tiptoes, both feet together. Repeat 10 times. This will not only stretch the underside of your foot but also strengthen your calf muscles and alleviate heel pain.
- Heel dips – Stand on a step with your heels hanging over the edge. Drop your heels below the level of the step and then return to the starting position. This exercise works the muscle on the underside of the foot as well as stretching out your calf muscle and Achilles’ tendon.
- Leg balance – Standing with both feet flat on the ground. Raise one foot off the ground and balance on one leg for 30 seconds. To make it more challenging try closing your eyes while you balance.
By performing these stretches and exercises regularly you will strengthen your muscles and improve your range of joint mobility. This will increase your body’s ability to protect itself during everyday activities and help to prevent possible future foot and ankle injury.