Monday, December 17, 2007

Avoid Ankle Sprains

If you tend to roll your ankles a lot, try this exercise to make them stronger
By Jim and Phil Wharton

Sure, uneven sidewalks and untied shoelaces cause their share of twisted ankles. But people who supinate, or tend to strike the ground with the outside edges of their feet, are prone to ankle sprains. A natural amount of supination occurs during the push-off phase of the running cycle as the heel lifts off the ground and the forefoot and toes assist in propelling the body forward. Excessive supination, however, strains the muscles and the tendons that stabilize the ankle, which can result in a partial or complete tear of the ankle ligaments on the outside of the foot. Often runners roll their ankles and recover instantly, continuing on their run without a problem. But if this happens repeatedly, the ankle becomes progressively more unstable, increasing the risk of sprains over time. If you tend to roll your ankles when you run or you have high arches, you could benefit from the following exercise. It strengthens the tendons and muscles in the feet and ankles, which can reduce your tendency to roll outward.


1. Sit in a chair and put a towel down on the floor in front of you.
2. Put your bare foot on the towel, and keep your heel on the ground.
3. Starting with your little toe, contract your toes to bunch up the towel tightly and sweep it toward the midline of your body. Imagine that you are bringing your little toe under your foot to meet your big toe.
4. Without moving your heel, continue to gather and sweep the towel until you have done 10 repetitions or you run out of towel. Switch feet and repeat.