Don't use a brace without a doctor's prescription. They can be very difficult to get out of. I was put in a wrist brace by my orthopedist for 2 weeks but it took 8 months to fully wean myself off.
For ankles, I do dorsiflexion exercises 3x/week. Look on youtube or videos of how to do them. They are great for people who do squats, but they will help you also.
I also do single leg calf raises 2x/week. These are a good exercise. I do them barefoot (well, I wear socks, since I'm at the gym) and they are good for balance as well as strength.
Fitness Minutes: (113,344)
13,564 10/15/13 8:33 A
Braces are just that...a brace, a crutch, that doesn't allow the joint to strengthen properly. In some cases, a brace is useful, if prescribed by a doctor or other professional, but in general I would consider that to be unnecessary.
I am surprised no one asked if you have or use an ankle brace. I am trying to get one of my ankles stronger and until it is there I wear a brace when active. Mines slides on and has a strap that make kind of a figure eight shape. My doctor recommended this so I don't reinjure my ankle while trying to strengthen it and get healthier. I thought about using one of the ace brand ones that just slide on and provide mild support. My doctor said that is a next step after this one is strengthened. I have met a few people one here who don't like the idea of braces for short or long-term. I say to use them if a certain area really does need protection. Do what you can to work to a less supportive brace or none at all if that is realistic. Sometimes our bodies just don't recover the best from injuries or just aren't the strongest in certain areas. No one would like an injury or to reinjure something I would imagine too.
===== "While it is definitely true that shoes with large heel drop can cause a lack of 'feel' on trails, I hesitate at the words "the first thing" - minimalist shoes do require some adaptation in your foot, and the foot muscles to get stronger to absorb more of the impact. Switching to minimalist shoes is something you need to work up to gradually." =====
Yes, definitely transition to them gradually. I was hoping she'd find that out when she Googled it.
The reason i suggested better footwear first is that when you start to lose your footing while running, it is often too late - there is a fraction of a second until your ankle fully twists, and no amount of strength can stop the cascade sometimes. So i think the emphasis should be on improving reaction time and control, by wearing proper footwear. In shoes with a thick, spongy sole, it is much harder to control sudden movements, even for strong ankles. In minimalist footwear, the calves & ankles get strengthened automatically.
To be honest, if someone's ankles give out a lot on trail runs, it's probably best to run on more predictable surfaces for a while.
Fitness Minutes: (160,955)
3,973 10/14/13 10:32 A
I can only do calf raises barefoot, have NEVER found comfortable shoes....the soles of my feet hurt in anything not made of memory foam-soft materials. UGGS used to have a sheepskin lined loafer that did not have sheepskin peeking over the top (not good in AZ) but I can't find them anymore. I do ankle exercises every day, so I can keep wearing stilettos in public. Barefoot the second I walk in the door - I exercise barefoot, too. I don't think my ankles are really strong, but not terribly weak either.
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,562 10/14/13 8:34 A
When I sprained my ankle, one of the exercises my PT had me do to strengthen the joint was standing on a bosu ball without wobbling for up to a minute at a time. This forces you to use (and strengthen) all the little stabilizer muscles in your foot and ankle.
Also, I think it was mentioned previously but balance poses in yoga (aka anything on one foot) are also a great way to strengthen your ankle.
While it is definitely true that shoes with large heel drop can cause a lack of 'feel' on trails, I hesitate at the words "the first thing" - minimalist shoes do require some adaptation in your foot, and the foot muscles to get stronger to absorb more of the impact. Switching to minimalist shoes is something you need to work up to gradually.
Incidentally, the barefoot calf raises that I mentioned earlier will strengthen the foot as well as the ankle.
Which shoes did you run in? Most shoes on the market aren't good for trail running, due to their raised heel, rigid sole, and overly-spongy cushioning - all of which reduce your sensation of the ground and your ability to control sudden movements. So the first thing i would do is switch to a thin-soled shoe with a low heel, such as "minimalist footwear". Google that term if you're unfamiliar with it. Whatever you wear, lace them up tight.
Doing calf raises barefoot really works the small muscles in the foot and ankle. The barefoot aspect is key, as it is a much less stable platform than wearing shoes, so your muscles are working harder to keep you balanced.
If you can work up to the single leg variety, that's even better.
Fitness Minutes: (222,500)
21,761 10/12/13 2:06 P
Balance exercises will help. Do you take yoga ? If not, there are many poses in yoga that can help improve your balance (ankle strength). Tree pose is an excellent pose you could do that would help your ankles. However, if you don't do yoga, one simple thing you can do is to just stand on one leg. lift one leg out in front of you. doesn't have to be waist high. How long can you stand with your leg lifted ? That's a very simple balance pose.
You could buy a wobble board. surfers and skateboarders use them for balance practice. staying stable on an unsteady surface requires at of balance and ankle strength.
Does anyone have any ideas for strengthening ankles? I've recently started trail running and have fallen a couple of times because the path was tilted and my ankle gave out. I'd like to keep up running on trails because it's a lot prettier and time passes more quickly but I could also do with out the falling.
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