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Saying “yes” to more turkey, “yes” to pumpkin pie, and “yes” to leftovers can leave you with quite a food coma (not to mention indigestion) following Thanksgiving festivities. Didn’t anyone warn you? Well, we’re here asking you to heed another type of advice. If you’ve been saying “yes” to a lot of activity lately, make sure your ankles are stable. It’s important to strengthen ankles—they’re commonly injured joints that can be reinjured over and over again. Whether you’re recovering from or preventing them, here are ways to defend against any further fractures and sprains.
Balance—You may think it’s a piece of cake—or pie, for that matter—but balancing on only one leg is hard when you’re not looking! Close your eyes and hold the pose for 30 seconds each leg, working up to one minute per leg. Now, try standing on one leg and tossing a ball back and forth with a friend. Do three sets, 30 seconds with each leg. While standing on one leg, do a mini squat while holding the other leg in front, to the side, and behind you for 10 reps. Repeat three times and switch legs.
Strength—To build up your strength, you’ll need an exercise band. These first two exercises involve moving your ankle up and down. First, loop the band around a chair or furniture leg. Face opposite the chair and loop the other side around the front of your foot. Make sure the band is tight, and flex your foot toward you, pulling the foot toward the body. For the next stretch, loop the band around the ball of your foot, holding the other side of the loop, and try to point the foot away from your body. For these exercises, hold for 10 seconds for 10 reps.
These next two stretches also involve the band, but require you to point your ankle side to side, turning inward to the midline of the body and outward away from the midline of your body. Loop the band around a fixed chair again—it may be easier to straddle the leg of the furniture—and point your foot inward for one stretch and outward for the other. Hold for 10 seconds for 10 reps.
If you need more advice on how to strengthen ankles, make an appointment with Kevin J. Powers, DPM, in Bloomington, IN, by calling (812) 333-4422.