Do you always seem to roll your ankle whenever you step a little funny? The muscles that support your ankle are probably weak. By strengthening these muscles, you can help prevent future rolled ankles, sprains, and even breaks. Try doing these three exercises every day to strengthen your ankles.
Your gastrocnemius, which is the main muscle in your calf, plays a large role in keeping your ankle stable. Especially if you often wear shoes with heels, this muscle tends to get weak, which makes you more likely to roll your ankle. Calf raises are a simple exercise to strengthen your gastrocnemius muscles. Stand within reach of a shelf or chair back and rise up onto your toes. Stand on your toes for about 20 seconds, touching the chair back briefly for stability if needed. (Don't use the chair back to support yourself.) Lower your heels back down to the ground and rest for a few seconds. Repeat 9 times for a total of 10 repetitions. As your calves grow stronger, build toward doing 20 reps each day.
The muscles along your shin also help keep your ankle stable. These are hard muscles to target, but heel walking will do the trick. Do this on a carpeted floor in case you take a tumble. Go barefoot or wear socks, and then walk back and forth across the room, standing on your heels with your toes raised off the ground. When your shins start burning, take a break. Try to do 5 minutes of heel walking in total at first. Build towards being able to do 10 minutes total per day.
The muscles in the top of your foot are known collectively as flexors, since their job is to allow you to flex your foot up toward your shin. These muscles often become weak, since you won't use them a lot if you're not regularly running and jumping. To strengthen them, you need a buddy. Sit on the floor with your foot out in front of you and an elastic band looped around your foot. Your buddy should sit across you and hold the end of the elastic band, putting pressure on the band. Work against the band to flex your foot, drawing the top of your foot towards your shin. Aim for a total of 10 repetitions. As you grow stronger, have your buddy pull on the band a bit harder to make the exercise more difficult.
For more tips, talk to a physical-therapy professional, such as one at DeSoto Memorial Hospital.