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TOPIC: Strengthening Ankles

 
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February 16, 2013 10:04 AM
So, I have been dieting with MFP and exercising daily (treadmill, track with C25K, aerobic exercises) and have lost 35 lbs, but still have a long way to go and really want to tone up also. I took the Insanity fit test and started with the Plyometrics today. I have noticed that my ankles are very weak and when I jump it is very uncomfortable. Any suggestions or exercises that will help strengthen my ankles?

And don't let my size fool you...this girl is in it for the long haul and I have a pretty high endurance built up already wink

Thanks!
Edited by kimberlyshian On February 16, 2013 10:07 AM
  20355193
February 16, 2013 10:10 AM
Here's a great ankle-strengthening exercise you can do just about anywhere: sit down and cross one leg over the other at the knee. With the upper leg, write the alphabet with your foot. Switch legs when you're done with the alphabet. Do a couple of times a day--great while you're on the phone, watching TV, at work if you sit down there, wherever.
  6092675
February 16, 2013 10:11 AM
Make sure that when your feet land they land as softly as possible. No stomping down. Try to make the landing as quiet as possible. Also, you might want to buy some ankle support sleeves. I sprained both of my ankles AT THE SAME TIME years ago. I dealt with ankle pain and weakness for a long time. There were some exercises that I just couldn't do until my ankles completely healed. Plyos are great but I wouldn't do it if it hurts.
  36597558
February 16, 2013 10:14 AM
If you don't already have good shoes that could help. Something labeled cross trainer probably and definitely something specifically designed for heavy people. They make these shoes with extra support and cushion. I don't have a brand recommendation, but you can google and find shoes like these.
February 16, 2013 2:07 PM
Thanks guys!
  20355193
February 16, 2013 2:53 PM
There are 2 things that immediately come to my mind.

1) Some programs are hard on the knees and/or ankles. It just is what it is. I have arthritis at a young age. Insanity and a few others I looked into would shred my knees. No matter how much I want to get into them, health-wise, they're just not a good option for me. I have to accept that. Hopefully that's not the case for you. Feeling "the burn" during a workout is good... feeling pain during a workout is not. It means something is not working right...

2) It could be your sneakers. Sneakers need to be replaced more often than you think if you work out regularly. Running sneakers need to be replaced every 400-600 miles. Which for some runners, could be in as little as 3 months! New pain often means your sneakers are not giving proper support anymore. Try a new pair of sneakers and see if the pain subsides.

Good luck! And get it, girl!
  31182531
February 16, 2013 3:10 PM
As someone who has had a couple ankle surgeries and completed a couple years of physical therapy, I can give you a list (here's what I can think of right now):

1) Write the alphabet with your toes (you can do this anytime, anywhere)

2)Calf raises (can also be done anywhere, I have a bad habit of doing them when I'm bored or waiting in line or pretty much anytime)
Stand with whole foot on the ground lift your heels up then go back down until your heels almost hit the ground but not quite and then back up again.

3) Wall sitting/Squats (all your muscles are linked)

4) If you have access to them, the machines at the gym where you sit and either push your legs down or lift them up are great. Specific to ankles make sure to keep your toes pointed back towards you while you do them

5) If you can get a resistance band (they are very cheap): hook one end around a door (or another stationary place) put one end on your toes and pull your toes towards your body repeat.

6) If you have a balance ball: lie on your back with you legs straight out and mid calf on the ball. Lift your bum up and pull your feet in towards you (still on the balance ball). This one works a lot of your muscles including core, quads and calves.

This site might help but I haven't really looked at it too much:
http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/orthopedicsandpt/ss/anklerehab.htm

Google "ankle physical therapy" and you can probably find hundreds of exercises.
  35761138
February 16, 2013 4:07 PM
QUOTE:

There are 2 things that immediately come to my mind.

1) Some programs are hard on the knees and/or ankles. It just is what it is. I have arthritis at a young age. Insanity and a few others I looked into would shred my knees. No matter how much I want to get into them, health-wise, they're just not a good option for me. I have to accept that. Hopefully that's not the case for you. Feeling "the burn" during a workout is good... feeling pain during a workout is not. It means something is not working right...

2) It could be your sneakers. Sneakers need to be replaced more often than you think if you work out regularly. Running sneakers need to be replaced every 400-600 miles. Which for some runners, could be in as little as 3 months! New pain often means your sneakers are not giving proper support anymore. Try a new pair of sneakers and see if the pain subsides.

Good luck! And get it, girl!


I agree with this above.

To me it seems like most of ankle "strength" is really about getting the used to the type of movement and impact you are going to be subjecting your ankles to. Definitely try some new shoes if possible.

Also, great job on your weight loss so far and so happy to hear you say you're in it for the long haul. I definintely believe that and don't be discouraged by this ankle problem. Try making some adjustments or even try some lower impact cardio (zumba?). A good friend of mine has been doing zumba for a while as well as incorporating healthy diet and has lost over 30 lbs. :)
  15757187
February 16, 2013 4:08 PM
Also, kudos to you on attempting Insanity! Thats a tough program and more than just my ankles were hurting when I was done with the first fit test lol.
  15757187

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