Stop Rolling Your Ankles
New video this week!
Ankle rolling sucks. It happens while running, walking, using stairs, trying on new shoes, and other ways that typically end in “how did I do that?”
How It Happens
Ankle rolling occurs when there is weakness in the hip and/or the ankle, which leads to inefficient movement. Your body isn’t moving properly as it makes up the difference between what is supposed to happen and what your body currently does. Today’s post specifically focuses on the ankle, foot, and lower leg utilizing four seated exercises:
Short Foot Engagement
Watch the video for explanations and examples of each exercise!
Rockers help retrain your foot how to properly move from heel to toe, without wavering the ankle side to side. Super “technically” speaking, this movement gets the muscles in your shin and calf to cooperate with your foot in a fluid manner rather than fighting with each other on who gets to be engaged and who gets off the movement hook. That is, it holds the mover muscles accountable for, well, the movement.
Inversion and Eversion has the foot rotate along its center line. This is fantastic for movement isolation, gaining control of what your foot actually does rather than go on autopilot. Take care not to lead with the toe — lead with the left and right sides of your foot and do one foot at a time.
Toe Switches help retrain your brain that you can, indeed, independently move your toes. While we are stuck in shoes most of the time, our feet each turn into a unit that moves as one flat surface. This “paddle foot” flapping of the ankle usually involves muscles not doing their jobs to activate the foot as a whole. While the short foot exercise gets the foot on track to stabilize itself, the toe switches give the big toe, officially known as the Great Toe, independence from its supporting crew on the side, aiding ligament flexibility. It’s doesn’t need to be much, but you do need some stretch in there!
Short Foot Engagement is the plank for the foot — it engages the muscles while not moving the foot itself. This type of muscle engagement is called isometric. You can call it strengthening the foot’s “core.” Be sure to watch the video to get a good grasp on what this type of engagement should look like. Have fun with this one; it’s weird.
All of these exercises will allow you to regain fine motor control of the foot. While your feet won’t be as agile as your hands, they will get stronger, as will your lower leg. One more thing…
Special note: stabilize your knees by squeezing your fists gently with your thighs — that eliminates any wiggly from above the knee!
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“How & Why to Make Your Feet Stronger” Robb Wolf: revolutionary solutions to modern life by Kate Galliet
“Rehabilitation of Ankle and Foot Injuries in Athletes” US National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health by Lisa Chinn, MS, ATC and Jay Hertel, PhD, ATC
“The Right Way to Strengthen Your Foot” Men’s Journal by Michael Frank
“Toe-Spread vs. Short Foot: Intrinsic Activation” Barefoot Strong by Dr. Emily Splichal