The ankle is possibly one of the most important joints in the body when it comes to stability and mobility. The ligaments provide much stability for the joints and also ensure that the bones connect seamlessly with each other. Muscles are joined to the bones through tendons and provide for movement. A good balance is needed between mobility and stability to prevent injury and improve performance.
Why is it important to maintain a strong ankle?
When you run or jump, great pressure is exerted on the ankle and the surrounding muscles. If the ankle is strong enough, it can withstand greater pressures without inducing an injury. But, if this is not the case, the ankle needs to be strengthened. This will also help prevent more chronic injuries like Achilles Tendinitis and shin splints.
The importance of proprioception.
Due to proprioception we are aware of our body’s position and movements spatially. Whilst you are in motion, your muscles, ligaments, fascia, etc communicate with your nervous system to optimally position your ankles. Compare this with a “smart” suspension system in your car. It is also through proprioception that you can improve your performances, simply because you have become more agile. This is mainly the case in ball sports like basketball, volleyball and football, but of course improved agility is highly valued in every sport.
Below is a selection of the best ankle exercises which you can carry out at home. Perform the static stretches 3x 20″ each side, and the active exercises for 60″ per exercise. Aim to do a selection of these exercises for just 15 minutes each day and enjoy the spectacular results!