The ankle is an important part of the human body that is often ignored while carrying out normal exercising. While there are no important muscle groups that are associated with ankle, the tendons and ligaments that maintain the ankle in its place must be kept flexible and strong so that they can perform their tasks smoothly. The ankle and the foot together form the basic foundation that holds the rest of the body up. All muscles, tendons and ligaments connected with the ankle must also be kept strong for avoiding injury.
A weak ankle or sprained ankle is a very common form of injury that affects plenty of people on a daily basis. Since we make use of our feet for propelling forward motion, a trip, a wrong step or a major fall can lead to a serious injury of the ankle musculature, particularly if they are already weak. Therefore a person should focus on regular strengthening of ankle. While strong ankles help to improve agility, balance, speed and protect legs, hips and knees from injuries, weak ankles do just the opposite.
There are mainly four different types of motions that the ankle can use for moving itself. These are inversion, eversion, plantar flexion and dorsiflexion. The inversion motion allows a person to turn the ankle inwards and the eversion motion performs just the opposite function, i.e. it enables a person to turn the ankle out. Plantar flexion lets a person point the toes outward and dorsiflexion lets a person turn the toes backwards toward the shin. All of these movements can be performed in a better way if the ankles are strong enough. While strengthening the ankles, it is important to do that symmetrically as even small weakened portions can give rise to an injury.
If a person’s ankle has been weak for quite some time, then it can lead to chronic ankle instability. This is mainly characterized by recurrent sprains and weakness of the lateral or outside parts of the ankle. Unlike a typical isolated injury, patients suffering from chronic ankle instability will often experience their ankles turning over without any apparent trauma. This takes place quite frequently and patients complain of swelling, pains and feelings of pressure in the ankle region. Over long time this can give rise to tendon dysfunction and arthritis and cause major restrictions with day to day life activities.
Since ankles offer support to the rest of the body, it is necessary to perform stability and balance exercises that allow one to strengthen the ankles. There are a number of ways in which one can strengthen his or her ankles. One of these is by standing on a single leg and the other one is standing on some unstable surface. These are excellent ways to make the ligaments and tendons of the ankle strong through a mental process known as proprioception. Using these techniques also helps a person to develop enhanced ankle strength and balance that helps in reacting quickly to severe or stressful situations.