ANKLE & FOOT DYSFUNCTION

Ah the feet, the foundation of the body.  Asked to hold up the rest of our body on a daily basis as we move forward in life.  It’s no wonder these guys take a beating, balancing anywhere from 55-65% of our body weight (in people who are lucky) in healthy individuals to 80-100% in some (have you had a scan lately?  So many people are in this category…100% of their body weight!).  So what do we do about that?  Well, there are many things to do, and they all revolve around giving these puppies lots of TLC.  Start by heating your feet (not too hot!), and then a nice tennis ball roll, or foam roller roll, or if you’re brave a golf ball roll (it can shoot out from under your foot, so take care).  Daily TLC will go a long way to keeping your feet in tip top shape.  However, if you need some added help, continue below to find numerous foot activation, stabilization, and co-ordination exercises, as well as some stretches.

GENERAL ANKLE TIGHTNESS / DISCOMFORT

Ankles go through a lot of stress and strain through a lifetime, and with injury (rolling your ankle) as well as inactivity they can start to stiffen up.  There are some culprits that are more commonly responsible than others.  The first is the calf and achilles tendon.  As they shorten, the ankle joint loses Range of Motion.  This is perceived as stiffness by your brain.  The Tibialis Anterior (think Shin Splints) is another bad boy in the lower leg, causing its fair share of trouble.  Stretches focused towards these two will go a long way to helping free up the ankle joint.  The following videos are typical stretches that will assist in releasing tension in the lower leg and foot muscles, and help relieve the feeling of tension in your ankle.

ANKLE SPRAINS

Rolled ankles can keep you out of sport and life for a significant time, but you can do things at home to help speed up your recovery time.  Follow the exercises below to create a functional ankle again.  It is advisable to wait until all of the swelling has gone, and pain with weight bearing is no longer present as well.  Consult your health care practitioner if you are unsure when you are ready to start.

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ANKLE ACTIVATION EXERCISES

Sometimes your don’t have an injury, and your ankle is not stiff, but your foot just doesn’t seem to “work right”.  This can be due to a lack of control over the muscles in and around your foot by your brain.  Sometimes due to injury your brain will stop using certain muscles for a period of time.  From time to time that break in the pattern of using the muscle never gets corrected, and your brain continues on not using that muscle (or those muscles if its more than one).  This can lead to dysfunction and pain as the muscles your brain are choosing to use instead of the proper muscles can become overused and sore.  Now you have a serious problem.  So before that happens, you can use these muscle activation exercises to reconnect your brain with the muscles of the foot.  Do these daily for several weeks and enjoy the magic!

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WHOLE LEG REHABILITATION

Sometimes your hip bothers you, or your knee bothers you, or perhaps your ankle does, BUT sometimes they are all linked, and one may be causing pain in another.  Often the hip dictates the health of the entire leg.  Since the Hip and Foot can affect the Knee, it is often a good idea to rehabilitate ALL THREE TOGETHER.  That’s what this Whole Leg Rehabilitation program will do.  Start at level one, and work up to level 5 over time.  DO NOT progress from each level to the next until you can easily do ALL of the exercises on that level.  When you’re ready, follow THIS LINK to the Whole Leg Rehabilitation page.