Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in sports, especially those that involve jumping, cutting, and quick changes of direction. It is also the most common we see in Stunt Training and Performance. So, here's a quick guide to Ankle Sprains and how you can train to prevent them.
An ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect bones to each other and provide stability to joints. Ankle sprains most often occur when the foot twists or turns beyond its normal range of motion, causing the ligaments on the outside of the ankle to stretch or tear. This can cause pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the ankle. In severe cases, ankle sprains can result in chronic ankle instability, which can lead to recurrent sprains and difficulty with daily activities and athletic performance.
Repeated ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle instability, which can significantly impact an athlete's performance and quality of life. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent ankle sprains from occurring, and strengthening the leg, foot, and ankle muscles is one of them.
In this article, we will discuss some exercises and techniques that athletes can use to strengthen their leg, foot, and ankle muscles, and reduce the risk of repeated ankle sprains.
Ankle circles are a simple exercise that can be done anywhere and without any equipment. To do ankle circles, sit on a chair or bench, extend one leg, and move your ankle in a circular motion. Start with small circles and gradually increase the size of the circle. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Ankle circles can help to improve ankle flexibility, range of motion, and stability.
Calf raises are an effective exercise for strengthening the calf muscles, which play an important role in ankle stability. To do calf raises, stand with your feet hip-width apart, and lift your heels off the ground, so you are standing on your toes. Hold this position for a few seconds and then lower your heels back to the ground. Repeat the exercise for several sets.
Resistance band exercises
Resistance band exercises can help to strengthen the ankle, foot, and leg muscles, and improve flexibility and balance. One simple exercise is to loop a resistance band around your foot and then move your foot in different directions, such as up and down, side to side, and in circles. This exercise targets the small muscles in the foot and ankle that are often overlooked in other exercises.
Balance exercises can help to improve proprioception, which is the body's awareness of its position in space. Improved proprioception can reduce the risk of ankle sprains by allowing the body to respond quickly to changes in terrain and direction. One simple balance exercise is to stand on one leg with your eyes closed. You can also try standing on a balance board or wobble board, which will challenge your balance and coordination.
Plyometric exercises are high-intensity exercises that involve explosive movements, such as jumping, hopping, and bounding. Plyometric exercises can help to improve ankle strength and stability, as well as improve overall athletic performance. One example of a plyometric exercise for the ankle is the ankle hop. To do this exercise, stand on one foot and hop forward and backward, landing on the same foot each time. Repeat the exercise for several sets.
Knowing that Ankle Sprain is the most common injury we face in training we can adapt and embrace these techniques to prevent them from happening. By incorporating exercises that strengthen the leg, foot, and ankle muscles into your training routine, you can improve your ankle stability and reduce the risk of repeated ankle sprains.
Remember, it's best to consult a professional before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have a history of ankle sprains or other injuries. Also, as a professional Stunt Performer we always recommend you get any sprain checked, scanned and take every measure to ensure swift healing and then use physio to fully recover, rebalance and hopefully prevent a repeat injury.
This blog os co-authored by The ISA Team