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Ankle stability

Ankle stability

Anyone who is physically active should be able to appreciate the importance of ankle stability. Whether your running, changing direction quickly, jumping or lunging you require strength and control around the ankle to ensure correct posture. If this is lacking then you are at a greater risk of injury. Furthermore conditions like shin splints and plantar fasciitis become more common.

Our ankles support our bodies. As such, this joint carries an incredible amount of weight and has to be quite mobile to allow for an array of movements. It is no surprise then that ankle sprains are very common. The problem with this type of injury is that it is often shrugged off and quickly forgotten. Even with a minor sprain the ankle joint becomes fragile and more likely to give way during movement. This will have an impact on how you control your entire body during movement and can lead to compensations and conditions in other parts of your body.

If you have sprained your ankle, recently or in the past, then it is important to talk to your physiotherapist. If it is a recent injury your physiotherapist will offer guidance on how to reduce swelling and pain within the joint. Taping and supportive footwear will help provide support whilst the ligaments heal. Once the swelling and pain reduces then your physiotherapist may use gentle joint mobilsations to treat any resulting stiffness and you will be guided on the appropriate way to regain stability within the joint through appropriate exercises.

The exercises are specifically designed to help strengthen the ankle. Ankle stability exercises are also a good idea if you are usually active or if you have sprained your ankle in the past. See your physiotherapist and they can do a biomechanical screen to pick up if your current condition is as a result of deficits around the ankle or if you are at a greater risk of ankle injury.

Some simple ankle stability exercises that you could try include:

-Drawing the alphabet with your foot in lying and then trying it whilst standing and balancing on one leg

-Practicing balancing on one leg with eyes open then trying this with eyes closed.

-Using a trampoline, piece of foam or bosu ball to practice your proprioception and balance in a range of different movements.

-Compare the control between the two ankles and you might notice some differences

To find out more on how to improve ankle stability or if your condition is related to your ankle then come in and see one of our physiotherapists who will be able to guide you through the correct exercises for this.

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