Back in 2015 I suffered one of the worst ankle injuries that anyone could probably have.
Seriously, I wrecked my ankle.
I tore the ligaments on both sides of my ankle, fractured my ankle bone, and dealt with a massive bone bruise on the inside of the area.
All of this happened because I attempted to block a shot in practice on a fast break 4 days before the first game of the season! Yes, that was a bad idea.
But, I learned a lot from this experience!
I was out of basketball for over 6 months due to this injury, and learned a lot about both my body and mind.
Amongst the many ways I grew as a person and an athlete from this injury, learning about how to improve my ankle health and stability is certainly one of the main goals I accomplished!
How to Start Exercising to Get Stronger Ankles After an Ankle Injury
When done appropriately, exercise can help you heal faster and feel better. Still, you have to take note of your body’s limits and increase your activity steadily to avoid injury.
Work with your health professional, consider your particular health needs, be patient, and you will resume your regular fitness program in no time.
Here are a few steps for getting back into your gym routine after an injury.
Begin With Walking
If you are struggling to get back into your regular exercise routine after an ankle injury, it is advisable to start with something easy like taking a 5-minute stroll in the park.
Walking is the most natural type of exercise for the human body.
What’s more, it is very low impact making it a great comeback exercise after an ankle injury.
Put on your best cross-fit shoes and start moving. Preferably, start with a few minutes and then increase the pace gradually as you listen to your body’s response.
See Also: Low Impact Exercises
Reduce Your Workout Efforts by At Least 20% of What You Think You Can Do
Exercise and movement bring people immense joy, and when you are unable to do so, and the realization of how much joy movement brings makes most people very eager to get back into their regular physical routine.
However, regardless of how incredibly inspired, you are to get back on the tracks, being overly anxious can lead to re-injury.
Hence, start your workouts slowly and then begin making steady progress.
Consider Working with a Movement Specialist, Kinesiologist or Physical Therapist Who Has an Understanding of Your Condition
Your health professional can get you back to the level of physical fitness you desire.
Whether your period of in-activeness was extensive or short, it is imperative to work with someone who can assess your ability to incorporate specific workouts into your regime as well as determine your readiness to progress.
Your physical therapist can create a program to address various needs and make the needed modifications as you progress.
Read More: Types of Physical Therapy
After an Ankle Injury, Pain Is Pain
While most fitness enthusiasts live by the motto “No pain, No gain,” when working out after an illness or injury, this mantra couldn’t be further from the truth. Always remember that pain is your body’s signal that you have gone too far.
Take the time to rest and recover before re-introducing exercise and other physical activities.
Listen to your body and give it body time to heal.
Continue to pay attention to your diet. Feed your body the best and most nutritious foods, including quality proteins, healthy fats and anti-inflammatory foods like leafy vegetables and sufficient water.
Without the right nutrition and getting enough sleep, your body will not be able to recover fully from the training sessions, making it hard for you to work out the next day.
Read Also: Kale and Spinach Benefits
How to Get Stronger Ankles
These tips will help improve your ankle health whether you have suffered an injury as I did, or you are looking to prevent one!
Prioritize Single Leg Exercises
Before my ankle injury I would do some Bulgarian Split Squats just because I knew they were good for my legs athletically, but I can’t say I ever truly made an effort to work on 1 leg stability exercises.
I was always a huge believer in squats and deadlifts, but the “little” exercises always got skipped in my routine.
Well, after 6 months of retraining my legs to work properly I am no longer in that mind frame!
If you are not a professional athlete I don’t think you will need to do the intense single leg training that I was doing for months on end, but adding in single leg deadlifts, step ups, Bulgarian split squats, and other single leg exercises can quickly improve the health of your ankles!
Use an Ankle Brace or Ankle Sleeve When Necessary!
I’m still not a person who plays with an ankle brace because I think that they are uncomfortable, but especially while I was recovering I was often wearing a compression sleeve on my ankle for some extra stability and to increase blood flow and circulation.
If you would like to find an excellent ankle brace, you can check out this guide to the top 10 ankle braces and sleeves!
I especially like ankle sleeves because they are not bulky, but do provide some much-needed additional support for your ankle.
I would even wear certain ankle sleeves while just walking around for my daily tasks!
Ankle sleeves can easily be worn on any regular shoes, so there is no excuse not to wear them if you already have an ankle injury! If you are going to be playing a sport with a lot of jumping, running, or cutting, there is a good chance you need some additional ankle support as well!
If you use these two tips, I am sure that your ankles will stay healthy, and become healthier than ever before!