Keep your ankles strong

Your ankles happen to be the smallest primary weight bearing joint in your body. They are also critical for a variety of your daily movements – everything from walking to running and standing to dancing, which makes having strong ankles important.

“Regardless of your age and level of physical activity, weaker ankle joints are more prone to injury,” says Troy Meiners, director of sports performance and therapy at HonorHealth. “Certain sports and activities, which involve uneven terrain or quick reactions, such as hiking, basketball, trail running and soccer, can also leave you more prone to ankle injuries. Plus, strong ankles are important for balance which helps with fall prevention.”

How do you know if your ankles are weak? If you’re experiencing pain in the area, a feeling of weakness or instability, or if you don’t feel confident on a flat surface or uneven terrain (such as hiking or on a playing field), these are all signs of ankle weakness.


Try these tips

Looking for ways to keep your ankles strong and prevent injuries? We’ve got you covered with these tips:

  • Work on your ankle’s mobility and flexibility. Commit to performing the single leg balance and calf stretch exercises daily to help with your ankle stability and mobility. 
  • Strengthen your hips. There is a strong correlation between hip weakness and ankle sprains. By doing hip raises and clamshell exercises, you can help improve your hip strength and lower your chances of spraining your ankles.
  • Take time to strengthen your core. Not only will this help build your hip strength, it will also help you maintain good dynamic stability into your knees and ankles.
  • Increase activity gradually. If you’re starting a new activity or going back after a layoff (even a vacation), remember that rapid changes on the demands to the body can lead to overuse injuries. Take time to build up your activity – start small and increase each week.
HonorHealth patient stretching

When to seek help

If you’re injured, it’s important to seek care from a trusted care team. The ankle is complicated – it has a lot of work to do bearing the full body weight and flexing in multiple directions. You must allow yourself proper recovery to prevent re-injury.

“If you have any type of ankle sprain or strain, you should get it checked out by a healthcare provider,” explains Troy. “In addition to needing to have the injury itself addressed, you may have underlying issues that led to the injury such as incorrect form on exercises or hip weakness that could be causing issues with your ankle.”

The sports physical therapists at HonorHealth understand the unique challenges of dealing with ankle injuries and know how to get you back to your individual sport or activity. They know the importance of providing the right treatment for your injury. Your therapist will listen to your concerns and goals, and develop an individual treatment plan with the goal of getting you back to the activities you enjoy.

Need help recovering from an ankle injury?

We are by your side on the road to recovery. Talk to a healthcare provider or a sports physical therapist to get started.

Learn more about sports physical therapy