Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries every year. After spraining your ankle once you are at high risk to sprain that same ankle, or their other ankle, in the future. Research suggests that many of those second (and often third and fourth) sprains could be avoided with an easy course of static and dynamic balance exercises.

Ankle sprains are primarily a matter of overstretched, traumatized ligaments. But when you damage the ligament, the neuro-receptors in the ankle are also damaged. Your proprioception — your sense of your body’s position in space — is impaired. You’re less stable and more prone to falling over and re-injuring yourself.

Balance and rhythm are too basic yet important skills for any athlete. Improving your balance and retraining your neuro-receptors will help strengthening your ankles and decreasing the likely hood of a sprain or a re-sprain.

Below are a few balance tests you can try to test your balance, even if you have never sprained your ankles before you may be surprised at how poor your balance is. So go on and gives these few exercises a try.

The easiest of test is just to stand barefoot on one leg and see how long you can stand without losing balance. Is your right foot stringer than your left? Or vice versa. Try holding the stance for 30 seconds.

If you think that is a piece of cake, now try doing the same exercise with your eyes closed!! Taking away your sight further challenges your proprioception.

Try the balance tests while standing barefoot on an uneven surface such as a pillow or a folded towel. Again this challenges the neuro-receptors and proprioception in your ankle sending a lot more signals to the brain forcing it to make a lot more muscles adjustment to maintain equilibrium.

Incorporate many one-legged exercises such as power step ups, single leg squats, single leg medicine ball exercises, etc into your workouts. Train your body in all 3 planes of motion to improve multi-planar balance. An example would be a grouping of walking lunges, side lunges and transverse lunges.

The first few exercises may sound ridiculous but of you actually try them you may be surprised at how difficult they can be, try them, challenge yourself and they challenge others and see how good their balance is.

Have a great weekend, Tara 🙂