Ankle injuries can be painful and frustrating, especially when they happen the day before a match and leave you on the sidelines. Recovering from an old, or new, ankle injury and getting back to sport is often more difficult than it sounds. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, you’re playing professionally, or just kicking the ball around with your kids, if you've had an ankle injury it requires protection.
Strengthening the ankle muscles
Once you’ve injured a tendon or ligament in your ankle, it can be incredibly difficult to restore that part of the foot to regular strength. Specially targeted rehab with a skilled physiotherapist can help a lot here, but there are some simple ways to strengthen the overall joint by yourself at home with no equipment. For a range of great exercise to strengthen the ankle, try the following:
- Alphabet toes: trace the alphabet in the air with your toes 3 times in a row to promote ankle movement.
- Towel curls: Sitting down, place your feet on a towel and scrunch your toes to move the towel back and forth. Add weight to the towel for a challenge.
- Balance exercises: Stand on one foot for 60 seconds, then alternate. Repeat with your eyes closed.
- Single-leg balance: begin standing upright on feet spread hip-width apart. Step forward onto one foot and hold your balance on that foot. Try to maintain your balance for 10 seconds.
Ankle injury and getting back into sport
Often, when an ankle injury occurs it will happen repeatedly. And depending on the severity or age of the injury, you may find that even with stretching and strengthening that the joint can still give you grief.
Using a compressive support, or in more chronic issues a semi-rigid support, has been shown to help protect your ankle, speed up recovery of the joint and relieve associated pain. Wearing a support which is a good fit and is made from medical-grade compression, will provide the best protection when you get onto the sports field. If you’re not sure which support to go for, check out our guide on selecting the right brace here: Selecting the right ankle brace for your injury
Or, visit our Ankles Supports and Braces page. For assistance selecting the right product for your needs, book a video consultation with a Bauerfeind expert: Book Video Call, or call us on 1300 668 466.
The importance of warming up and down
Getting back into sports isn’t just playing the match, it includes the training sessions, warming up before the game and the personal training you do yourself.
When you’re active, blood is flowing to the joint and keeping the muscle warm and flexible. However when you’re warming up, and more importantly when you’re cooling down, that injury can occur.
Here are some examples of Ankle Exercises.
In all of this, what’s most important is that you take it slowly and give yourself all the support you need. Little things like resting the joint, compressing during recovery and icing when there’s swelling, in addition to the above tips, will help ensure you don't re-injure the joint when you return to exercise.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.