Chronic Ankle Instability & Lateral Ankle Sprain
Lateral ankle sprain is accounted for about 75-85% of all ankle injuries. It is one of the most common injuries among athletes as well as physically active individuals. Furthermore, chronic ankle instability is usually caused by an ankle sprain that has not healed properly. People with chronic ankle instability will often complain of persistent discomfort around the ankle, and the feeling that the ankle is wobbly and unstable.
Here are a few exercises that could improve your ankle stability and minimize the occurrence of future ankle sprains.
1) Resisted ankle eversion
Strengthen the muscles on the outside of your leg (i.e. evertors) will likely prevent the ankle from ‘rolling inward’ too easily. You can start by sitting on a chair, and then wrap a resistant band around both of your mid-foot. With your heels touching the ground, move your toes in an ‘up’ and ‘out’ direction. Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions. Repeat on the other side.
2) Forward zig zag hop
A simple diagonal single leg hop can improve your ankle stability. This exercise targets your dynamic stabilizers (i.e. muscles) at landing, which could prevent future ankle sprain. Start by standing on one leg. Hop forward at a 45 degree angle and land on one leg. Perform 3 sets of 8 hops.
3) Heel walking
Walking on your heel is an easy and effective exercise to challenge your balance since it reduces your base of support. You can start with walking on your heel for 30 seconds and progress when there is minimal postural sway.
4) Single limb stance on unstable surface with ball toss
Working with your therapist or friend, start by standing on one leg on an unstable surface (i.e. foam pad, soft pillow, or balance disc). While standing on one leg, have someone toss a ball to you. Your goal is to catch the ball and toss it back without losing your balance. Repeat this exercise for 8 times, 3 sets.
Anguish, B., & Sandrey, M. A. (2018). Two 4-week balance-training programs for chronic ankle instability. Journal of athletic training, 53(7), 662-671.
Lee, H. M., Oh, S., & Kwon, J. W. (2020). Effect of Plyometric versus Ankle Stability Exercises on Lower Limb Biomechanics in Taekwondo Demonstration Athletes with Functional Ankle Instability. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(10), 3665.