The minute our feet touch the ground, mobility and balance begins. According to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, strong, flexible ankles can best sense and respond to our dynamic environment, keeping us upright and moving smoothly through our daily lives. Ankles and feet are often an ignored part of an exercise program. When was the last time you did ankle exercises?
We compromise our mobility and independence when we overlook the importance of ankle strength and flexibility. When you compare weak, stiff ankles to strong, flexible ankles, which pair of feet will help you respond to uneven surfaces or other perturbations? You guessed it right, strong and flexible ankles will win every time; feet and ankles are the very foundation of mobility.
To gain flexibility, your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon suggests performing exercises through a full range of motion. To do this, move your foot and ankle in all the directions possible. This simple movement strengthens muscles around the entire joint to create balanced and stable muscles around the ankle which helps decrease the risk of injury. This is why engaging in a variety of physical activity and exercise is always best.
For example, if you only exercise on a stationary cycle, you are strengthening your ankle muscles in the direction you move, pushing forward. This leaves the surrounding ankle muscles on the sides, back and diagonally weak, causing an imbalance that can increase the risk of an ankle sprain.
Most ankle sprains occur laterally when the ankle rolls outward.
If you have been ignoring your feet and ankles, here are some simple exercises you can add to your daily routine to keep your ankles strong and flexible, compliments of your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon. We’ll start with exercises you can do from a safely seated position. Now take a few deep breaths and let’s start with 5 simple exercises for the feet and ankles. Do 10 repetitions of each:
Toe Lifts: Lift your toes up and lower.
Heel Lifts: Lift heels up and lower.
Toe Circles: With heels on or lifted off the floor, make circles with your toes. Reverse directions.
Toe Fans: Rotate toes outward (duck) and inward (pigeon).
Alphabet Writing: With heels on or lifted off the floor, write the alphabet with toes.
Do these exercises whenever you are sitting watching TV, at the computer or while waiting for an appointment. When you are ready for a greater challenge, add some light ankle weights or do the exercises with elastic resistance bands or tubing.
If you would like more information regarding how you can keep your ankles strong, call the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer today to schedule a consultation.