How to Strengthen Weak Ankles
Wednesday, 21 July 2021 | Eugene
If you've ever suffered any sort of ankle injury, you'll be acutely aware of just how important keeping your ankles strong and flexible can be. Weak ankles mean less stability, which puts you at risk of rolls and sprains, and can make physical activity downright dangerous. To help you get your ankles back where they should be after an injury, it really comes down to two main factors: protection and strengthening. We've had our Health and Care experts put together their top tips for ankle rehab, which we'll go through below.
How Do I Strengthen My Ankles?
If you think you need to strengthen your ankles, you've most likely experienced some instability leading to rolled ankles, sprains and even fractures. To get your ankles on the right path, you'll need to protect them to make sure things don't get any worse, followed by some gradually intensifying exercises to maximise both strength and range of motion. Along the journey, it'll be important to be aware of recovery as well, and there's no substitute for rest, ice, compression and elevation. With that said, let's get into our steps.
Before you start to strengthen your ankles, you need to make sure you won't be suffering any further setbacks, and that means bracing. The best ankle supports are comfortable enough to wear all day long, yet breathable enough to let you go through your exercise. They'll also need to prevent ankle rollover, which is where the majority of sprains occur.
Aircast A60 Ankle Brace
For protecting your ankles while letting you get on with your exercise, the Aircast A60 Ankle Brace is on its own as the best choice in our opinion. The secret is the uniquely thin plastic stabiliser that goes from one side of your ankle to the other, stopping your ankle's side movement at 60° – which happens to be the perfect level of support for preventing rollover during activity. Built with a slim profile, it provides the right level of protection while still fitting in your shoes.
Key Features: Provides rollover protection; fits easily into running shoes
Ankle Resistance Exercises
Although we're focusing on strength here, ankle rehabilitation exercises really focus on strength and flexibility in equal parts. Your ankles will need to be strong, but unlike traditional strengthening exercises where the goal is to push a load in a single direction, ankle strengthening exercises focus on the ability to push a constant load throughout your whole range of motion. For ankle exercise, this most often means exercise bands and balance boards.
MoVeS Ankleciser Resistance Band Ankle Rehab Kit (Set of Four Bands)
Rehabilitating any muscle is all about gradual progression, which is why we love the MoVeS Ankleciser Resistance Band Rehab Kit, which includes the same bands at four resistance levels to let you build up strength. Once you can start your rehab, you can begin improving your strength and range of motion, and by the time you progress through the bands, you can gain some real confidence that your ankles are back in top shape. Click here to see a list of Ankleciser exercises.
Key Features: Specially designed for ankle resistance training; four resistances for gradual progression
Ankle Balance Exercises
Balance exercises are another crucial part of any ankle rehabilitation routine, as the need to balance will activate your stabilising muscles and tendons, helping to build strength and maintain a natural range of motion. Once you're able to bear weight, a balance board will force you to shift pressure from one side of the ankle to the other, helping your tendons get used to the stabilising motions they'll need to carry out on a daily basis.
Bosu Balance Trainer Pro Home Package
A staple in any gym worth their salt, Bosu balance balls are the preferred choice for balance training, as they provide dynamic stability training with the potential for other exercises using the yoga ball underside. The Bosu Balance Trainer Pro Home Package combines everything you need to get started with your Bosu ball, letting you carry out all sorts of balance board exercises right away.
Key Features: Versatile balance board for strength and flexibility training; great for a huge range of exercises
Rest and Recovery
While strengthening and rehabilitating your ankle, there will no doubt be some pain, inflammation and stiffness along the way. After exercising your ankle, or while waiting to be at a point where you can start with your exercises, you'll need to follow the principles of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). While the ankle brace listed above can handle the compression, the other three will need to become part of your rehab routine.
Dura Soft Foot & Ankle Ice Pack Wrap
While a homemade ice pack can often do the trick, a purpose-made ice pack can help save you time and mess, while ensuring you target the right area with your ice therapy. The Dura Soft Foot & Ankle Ice Pack Wrap has long been our top recommendation for ankle cold therapy, as it is designed to comfortable attach to the ankle to hit all the right areas. The moulding gel inserts are perfect for the ankle's contours, making this wrap a big step up from a bag of frozen peas.
Key Features: Designed to target the contours of the ankle with cold therapy; straps on comfortably
Ankle Rehab Saver Packs
Rehabilitating and strengthening your ankles is always going to require a multifaceted approach, and you'll most likely need to combine a few different exercises with the right level of support to reach your goals. To make things a bit easier, we've put together a few bundles at a reduced price to let you get your support, protection and training all in one package.
Build Strong Ankles
The road to full ankle health can be a long one after an injury, but with the right training and support, it's always possible. Making sure your ankles can provide you with the flexibility, control and stability you need should be your first priority, as everything from stepping off a kerb to going for a job will be affected. If you'd like to see all of the ankle protection we have on offer, you can browse our huge range in our Ankle Supports and Braces section. Otherwise, you can see all of the bundles we've put together in our Aircast A60 Ankle Brace section.