One important yet often overlooked part of our body are our ankles.
Your ankle's range of motion affects many things you do on a daily basis, especially if you're an athlete.
Ankle mobility plays a significant role in ACL injury prevention, performance in certain exercises like squats, and the improvement of your kicking mechanics in swimming.
Ankle mobility can also prevent unwanted injuries that are due to a sudden change in speed or direction.
When your ankles are flexible, it enables the tendons, ligaments, and muscles around the ankle to accommodate the sudden movements or changes in direction.
This is useful even if you aren't an athlete.
Since people often overlook their ankles, they likely have no idea what to do to increase their mobility.
Below we will discuss several ankle stretches and exercises that can increase your ankle's mobility and contribute to your overall well being.
Foot Circles With Flexed Toes
To perform foot circles with flexed toes, keep your toes curled gently, but not too tight.
If you curl them too tight, you are likely to cramp.
Then, make a slow and controlled circle in one direction, and then switch directions.
Take a break between sets to prevent cramping if necessary.
You want to do 10-15 reps in each direction for 2-3 sets.
Another variation of this exercise controls the movements of your toes and feet with your ankles.
Curl your toes as you point your foot, and then extend the toes as you flex your foot.
Then reverse it. Extend your toes as you point the foot, then curl them as you pull the foot back.
Do ten reps of each variation for two sets.
As the name implies, with the diagonal pattern exercise, you'll work on diagonal patterns for the feet and ankles.
Start by tracing an "x" with your foot, from the outer/upper corner down to the inner/lower corner.
Then move from the inner/upper corner down to the outer/lower corner.
When you first start doing this exercise, do it on the ground or in a char.
As you get used to the exercise and become more comfortable with it, try doing it while standing.
You need to do 10-20 reps for 2-3 sets.
Roll Up On Your Toes
Start in a comfortable position.
You can start in a full squat or a lunge position, or have your hands supported on something.
Whatever is comfortable for you, have one foot in front of the other.
Then roll forward, so you're up on the toes of your front foot. Roll up as far as you can.
Feel free to play around with the positioning, and be sure to work on both sides.
Do 5-8 reps or 3 sets.
Squat With An Ankle Rotation
The main thing you're doing with this exercise is rolling the ankle in and out.
If you need to, you can start sitting on a stool or chair, but work your way to the squat position.
From the squat position, you will just roll your ankles in and out.
Do 5-8 reps for three sets.
Side To Side Ankle Rolls
The side to side ankle roll emphasizes strengthening your ankle in unusual positions with weight.
Doing this while standing forces your ankle to support your body weight, but only as much as you're comfortable with.
Lift onto the toes of one foot, and shit the weight on the toes from side to side.
Repeat it on your other foot.
Do 5-8 reps for three sets.
Weight-bearing Ankle Circles
In this variation, you lift your toes off of the ground so you're on the heel of your foot.
Do this standing so you're supporting your body weight, but adjust the weight to your comfort level.
Rotate your ankle in one direction, then go in the opposite direction.
Repeat on the other foot.
Now, do the same exercise again, but instead, stand on the ball of your foot instead of the heel.
Do ten reps in each direction for two sets.
This exercise will help your calves and your ankles at the same time.
For this exercise, you can stand flat on the ground, or elevate your leg on a stool or step.
If you use a step, lower one or both heels down toward the ground until you feel a nice stretch in the calves.
Then you'll pass through the balls of your feet to lift your heels.
Perform this slowly and under control.
If you do it on the ground, focus on lifting your heels and then lowering them back to the ground.
You can do this with straight and bent legs.
Do 8-12 reps for three sets.
Increasing Ankle Mobility Is A Must
With these seven simple exercises you can do from home, you will greatly improve your ankle's mobility.
This is essential for athletes and non-athletes alike.
Our ankles are at the core of a lot of what we do, so their mobility is critical.
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