The ankle is a complex joint, comprised of numerous ligaments and supporting structures. Together with the foot, the lower limb is an extremely vulnerable part of the body, as it is responsible for supporting the entire body while changing direction, kicking, as well as all other movements that are performed. Injuries, such as ankle sprains, muscle strains or ligament damage, amongst others, are therefore very common in the lower limb and can be debilitating.
Many people complain about ‘weak ankles’, ‘rolling their ankles’, or ‘going over on their ankles’. This is generally due to poor ankle stability, an aspect of conditioning that is often neglected. The result can be a ligament sprain or muscle strain, which can be very painful and which can take a very long time to heal.
In order to prevent an ankle sprain or to adequately recover from such an injury, one must do ankle stability exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles and ligaments around this joint. Such exercise include simple actions like balancing on one leg to more complex actions like standing on one leg on an unstable surface while performing some kind of movement with the rest of the body. The progression of these exercises depends on how unstable the ankle joint is. It is important, therefore, that this progression is carefully monitored by a Biokineticist, especially after an injury, so that re-injury doesn’t occur.
So, it is important to remember to look after your ankles. Think back to previous ankle problems that almost all of us have had at some point, and think how this has hindered your daily activities. Take the time to do a few simple exercises to ensure that the integrity of this joint is restored and maintained. However, if you do run into this common problem, consult a Biokineticist before resuming any form of active participation.