When our foot first hits the ground, the ankle has to stabilize in order for us to properly roll through the foot and get a strong push off. There are many other things involved as we move up the chain but the ankle is where it starts. Without strong stability in the ankles we are not only at greater risk for twisting an ankle on the run, we are also losing a lot of power in our stride. Often times ankle stability is also involved in injuries of the Foot, Achilles, & Calves. Whenever one thing is struggling to do its job, our body sends something else to make up for it. When that joint, tendon, or muscle becomes overloaded, injury strikes. We also want our ankles to be mobile and not stiff. This is important because even the strongest of ankles can inhibit push off if it’s stiff. The mobility helps the body absorb the ground forces as opposed to just the muscles, tendons, and bones of the lower leg. The mobility also gives it the spring like capability.
For trail runners, having an ankle twist on those trails especially technical trails is so common, it affects so many runners whose ankles are not enough stable, flexible and strong. We need to perform some exercises to strengthen our ankles and increase the flexibility to avoid some injuries. If our ankles are more flexible and stronger, even if we twist our ankle, it will not get injured. Also, running on the trail, to wear some shoes that are a bit more stable will protect our ankles. To wear very high cushioning shoes on the trail, and we don’t feel the ground, that can cause come ankle twist. If either stiffness or weakness are your issue, try adding this quick routine to your warm up or strength exercise sessions.
Exercises- Perform each exercise for 1 min. and 2-3 sets for strength sessions
Single Leg Banded Abduction and Adduction- Ankle Twist Left & Right
Squat Walks Forward and Back on Toes- Heels Lifted w/ Resistance Band Above the Knees
Ankle Hops- Up & Down or Jump Rope
Ankle Hops- Side to Side
Ankle Hops- Rotate
Ankle Strength and Stability Exercises Video: https://vimeo.com/637870034
Perform Good Ankle Strength, Mobility and Flexibility Exercises, Feel A Good Ankle, A Great Running Form, And A Nice Run!