Ankle mobility is an important factor in our overall physical health, and can have a huge impact on how we move.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from limited ankle mobility due to injury or prolonged periods of inactivity.
While surgery and certain medical treatments may be necessary for severe cases, there are ways to improve ankle mobility without having to resort to such measures.
In this article, we’ll look at some exercises and stretches that can help increase your ankle mobility.
Why Is Ankle Mobility Important?
Having good ankle mobility is essential for athletes, weekend warriors, and just about everybody else.
To allow for maximum range of motion and remain injury-free, your ankles require adequate movement range—and it actively needs to be worked on. Some of the main benefits of good ankle mobility include:
Reduce The Risk Of Injury
One of the most important roles that ankle mobility plays is reducing the chance of sports-related injuries, or injuries from general activity, and this can include a reduction in conditions such as sprains or fractures.
In addition, a lack of flexibility in this particular joint can put greater stress on adjacent muscles and make them more prone to tears or strains.
Keeping your ankle flexible helps protect your body against potential injury by providing it with the needed range of motion necessary when playing sports or a physical activity.
Strengthening your ankle not only reduces the chance of potentially dangerous injuries, but also enhances performance in sporting events or activities that rely heavily on agility, and this could include soccer, football, running track-and-field events, or dance.
A well-balanced and strong ankle allows you to perform complex manoeuvres smoothly as well as generate enough power into movements in order for them to be effective like linear sprints, jumping drills and various cutting drills that pro athletes usually practice during their training regime.
In addition, having strong ankles may lead to improved stability which will ultimately improve transfer energy distribution along with general coordination and balance – skills that are always beneficial when exercising.
A strong and mobile ankle can help improve posture by providing more stability and strength.
This is beneficial in everyday activities such as walking, running, and even standing still. It also helps keep our muscles in the correct alignment, which has a positive effect on overall body coordination.
Having good ankle mobility can reduce pain for those suffering from chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
Even if you don’t have any of these chronic conditions, regular stretching can help reduce general stiffness and soreness in the joint.
Exercises To Increase Ankle Mobility
Now that we know why ankle mobility is so important, let’s look at some exercises that can help make it stronger and more flexible.
This is one of the most simple and effective ways to improve ankle mobility. To do this exercise, start by standing on one leg and then slowly rotate your ankle in a clockwise direction 10 times.
Then switch directions, rotating it in a counterclockwise direction 10 times. Perform this exercise with each ankle 2–3 times a day.
Perform Dynamic Stretches
Dynamic stretching is an important part of keeping your joints mobile. This type of stretching involves moving parts of your body – like the ankles – through multiple planes of motion.
Try sweeping the foot up and down in circles, or compressing and releasing the foot muscles for a few seconds before steady release.
Work both the inversion (turning the sole of the foot inward) and eversion (turning it outwards) at least 3–5 times in each direction.
Practice Foam Rolling Your Ankles
Foam rolling helps to reduce muscle tension as it breaks up adhesions that can form within muscles over time.
Place a foam roller under the ankles while seated and lift one leg so that it’s hovering above the roller.
Roll back and forth on your ankle until you find tender areas; then invest extra time compressing the area with the roller until you sense some relief.
Doing this regularly helps reduce excess tension in ligaments surrounding your ankle joint, which improves ankle flexibility when doing dynamic activities such as walking or running.
Take Up Yoga Or Pilates Classes
Yoga and Pilates classes can help improve balance, strength, coordination and range of motion around your ankles in ways regular stretching cannot.
Go mindfully through each exercise; listening to cues from teachers about connecting to breath as well as grounding through your feet with awareness will also help build better balance capabilities over time.
Strengthen Your Core Muscles
Core strengthening exercises help to activate multiple support structures within our hips and legs, specifically engaging those muscles integral for sustaining ankle movement during regular activities like walking or running without discomfort or fatigue prematurely setting in sooner than expected.
Core strengthening exercises such as planks with variations like side planks are just a few examples that light up those little stabilizer muscles helping out our ankles when we’re moving dynamically, and this can play a key role in offering protection against potential sprains when we move around quickly, whether that is day-to-day activity, or being more active such as playing tag or engaged in group team sports.
Try Balance Exercises
Balance exercises are a great way to improve ankle mobility, as they train the stabilizing muscles to react quickly and effectively when performing dynamic activities.
Examples of balance exercises include single-leg balancing on a cushion, standing on one leg while holding a weight, or using an unstable surface such as a Bosu ball while doing squats or lunges.
These types of exercises can help improve your balance and ankle mobility over time.
By following these tips and exercises, you should be able to slowly increase your ankle mobility and reduce any pain or discomfort associated with limited movement.
It’s important to remember that improving ankle mobility takes time and dedication, and it is important to remain consistent with your exercises to see results.