You probably had an accidental landing and rolled your ankle in the process. In some cases, it could've been just a clumsy and funny memory. But when it starts to hurt and make it difficult for you to perform daily activities, then it's time to get a little serious. You might have an ankle injury.
Ankle injuries can be debilitating and may lead to surgery if left untreated. Before it reaches that point, you need to find ways to prevent ankle injuries or protect your weak ankle joints. These include proper ankle exercise and using the support of a hinged ankle brace.
This blog post will provide tips on hinged braces and how to exercise your weak/injured ankle for optimal prevention and recovery.
Rolling your ankles means your foot forcingly twists inward or outward beyond its normal range of motion, causing the ligaments of your ankle joint to tear. It develops into an ankle sprain injury and is one of the most common feet issues, particularly in sports.
There are two main types of common ankle sprains, namely, eversion and inversion ankle sprains. Eversion happens when your ankle rolls outward, while inversion occurs when your foot twists upward, and the ankle rolls inward.
What causes ankle sprains? It could be loss of balance, wearing incorrect shoes, or engaging in high-impact activities. A lot of jumping, running, climbing, or kicking puts you at risk of ankle injuries.
What does it mean to roll your ankles within range? It means staying in a hinged position and being able to move the ankle in all directions without issues. This is important to prevent ankle injuries or help with an ankle sprain recovery. Here are exercises and a device that we recommend to help you with ankle management.
Balance is significant in preventing ankle sprains. It allows you to immediately respond to unexpected movements or situations that cause you to move awkwardly. There are fun and easy ways to improve your balance. Some of these are biking, climbing stairs, regular stretching, and yoga to help strengthen your lower body muscles and exercise your balance skills.
Towel Feet Exercises
There are two common types of towel ankle exercises: towel stretch and towel curl. With towel stretching, you sit with your legs straight in front. Then, simply wrap a towel around the forefoot and make pulling motions to stretch your lower leg and ankle muscles.
Meanwhile, you sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground when doing a towel curl. Put the towel under your foot and start curling your toes to grip and lift the piece of clothing. Once you lift the towel from the ground, hold it for a few seconds before release. Both exercises can help strengthen your feet muscles.
Standing heel raises help stretch and strengthen your ankle and leg muscles. You need to stand straight and then slowly raise and lower one heel off the ground alternatively.
Meanwhile, for calf raises, step on a slightly higher platform and keep the balls of your feet on the ground. Raise and lower your heels simultaneously and let them hang off the higher platform.
When you raise your foot upward and bring it closer towards your shin, you call it dorsiflexion. It's the bending of your ankle joint in the dorsal direction. The degree of dorsiflexion movement ranges from 10 to 30 degrees, but experts recommend athletes aim for a minimum of 15 degrees.
Dorsiflexion exercises your front foot muscles (tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis longus, and extensor digitorum longus). It helps with proper shock absorption whenever you land or stride.
Hinged braces help prevent injuries while you're active. They are semi-rigid braces with hinges on the sides to protect and allow unrestricted motion at the same time. Common types include:
- A hinged cuff ankle brace
- Double upright hinged ankle brace
- Metal ankle brace ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)
Hinged ankle braces provide protection and ankle joint stability to avoid ankle inversion or eversion. They evenly distribute the impact on the ligaments and don't restrict your normal range of ankle motion. This is an excellent device if you have been suffering from recurrent ankle instabilities and injuries.
Even the most careful people can't avoid badly rolled ankles. What's worse is that it might develop into a severe injury that will require over-the-counter or surgical treatment. Moreover, it can turn into a recurrent experience because the ankles are even weaker than before. Fortunately, it's not the end for you.
If you suffered from ankle sprains repeatedly but still want to keep an active life, there are solutions you can try. Start with regular ankle exercises that strengthen your balance and lower body muscles. Then, wear an ankle brace for full ankle support and protection. Whether it's a sport or daily life activity, always choose to maximize your ankle solutions. Break a leg, but not literally!