I recently taught a quick ankle mobility session at a Camp Gladiator workout and figured I'd share some of the exercises we demonstrated. Why focus on the feet and ankles? I see patients everyday who have issues with plantar fasciitis, shin splints, calf or knee issues... and more often than not, it's related to a weak foundation!
So, here are seven simple exercises to increase mobility in your ankles while strengthening your feet all the while helping you create a more stable base.
1. Grab the Ground With Your Feet
Pardon the ugly socks! It's subtle, but the top picture shows the feet grabbing the floor with the bottom pic with feet in a relaxed state. You want to create a gap between the floor and your arch and press those toes to the ground. Create a solid foundation while GRIPPING the ground. Build those feet muscles!
2. Standing Ankle Rotations
Keeping that same grip on the floor, rotate your torso, hips and all the way down to your ankles. Try wide and narrow stances as well. Just get those ankles rotating!
3. The Michael Jackson
Ever seen Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal video?
Well, we're not the King of Pop, but we like to think so. Still grip with your feet, but lean forward and back while keeping firmly planted to the ground. You're building a strong foundation and creating mega foot muscles.
4. Kneeling Plantar Flexion
One of my favorites! Sit with your feet under you stretching the top of your foot and ankle. If that's not enough for you, grab and pull your knee up. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat 2-3 times.
5. Stand to Squat to Kneel and Back to Stand
Grip the ground! Notice a trend here? Squat to your heels while keeping the back straight. Then bring your knees to the ground. Keep those toes flexed on the ground and bring yourself back up into the standing position. Advanced folks can try thise with a narrow stance. Need a visual? Check out our Instagram video (@procaremedical) showing the full movement.
6. Single Leg Kneeler
Drive that heel into the ground and lean forward. Press on your knee if needed. Stretch that ankle, Achilles... just be careful not to hurt your knee. After pressing your knee forward, come back to an 90 degree. Again, leaning your knee forward, move your knee to the outside while keeping your ankle planted. Try doing the same on the inside. Ankle mobility for the win!
7. The Foot Mangler
Grab those feet and toes and rip into them (just don't hurt yourself)! "Wring out" the dish rag and really focus on rotating and moving all 26 bones in your feet. Don't forget moving those toes backward, forward and sideways. It's like giving yourself a foot massage, but be a bit tougher on that foot. You're focusing on getting the bones, ligaments and muscles to be more mobile.
There you have it. Seven simple exercises to get you build better balance, stability and mobility for your feet and ankles.
If any of these movements are painful, stop doing them! Then, book an appointment online and let us take look.