The Las Vegas area is packed with school sports teams. Kids of all ages—from elementary school to college—enjoy and participate in fall athletics every year as families and friends cheer them on. Football and soccer are among the most common, but tennis, cross country, and volleyball keep students busy as well. All of these activities have one thing in common: they need strong, stable joints—and ankle exercises can help this.
Whenever an athlete at any level jumps, runs, changes direction, or otherwise uses their feet, the ankles absorb a significant amount of stress. Strong muscles, tendons, and ligaments withstand this strain and keep the ankle solid so your son or daughter won’t fall. Weak ankles, however, give out and get injured when they’re put to the test.
The good news is that your son or daughter can do exercises to improve ankle strength. Have your child include these in his or her regular sports conditioning:
Balance Training – Balance techniques work all the stabilizing structures around the ankle joint. Have your child stand on one leg for at least 30 seconds. When that’s too easy, have them try it with closed eyes. Have your child play catch with you while standing on one leg, too.
Calf Raises – Have your child stand with his or her feet shoulder-width apart. Then, he or she should rise up on the toes as far as possible before returning to neutral and repeat 10 times.
Resistance Band Exercises – Loop a resistance band—or a towel if you don’t have one—around the ball of your child’s foot. Have him or her hold the ends. Then, have your child point that foot, pushing against the band, and slowly return to a flexed position. Repeat the point-and-flex motion 10 times before rotating the ankle inward and outward, still pressing against the resistance band.
Remember to have your child stretch the Achilles and work his or her range of motion with foot circles as well. This helps keep the joint tissues from getting too stiff or tight.
Ankle exercises are an easy way to help your son or daughter stay conditioned for school sports. They can be worked into regular routines pretty easily, and the payoff is worth it. If your child already has trouble with weak or painful ankles, let our team at Absolute Foot Care Specialists investigate. Call (702) 839-2010 or use our website to reach us.