Athletes are far too familiar with the fact that some of the most common foot and ankle injuries happen while participating in sports. However, they are not the only ones at risk. Trips, falls, ankle twists, and overuse injuries can happen to anyone, at any time. That’s why it’s important for all of us to take steps to reduce our risk of foot and ankle injuries.
Try doing some of the following foot flexibility exercises whenever you have the chance. Some of them can be done while watching TV, while doing chores, and even as a fun “challenge” so that you can get your children involved too. Since they are still growing, it’s important that they are safe from injury to prevent developmental issues as their bones and joints set.
- While sitting, make circles with your feet. Rotate at the ankles to release any tension they might be holding. Point your feet and flex your feet.
- Spread your toes as wide as they can, hold, and then release. Do several repetitions of these.
- Face a sturdy object such as a heavy couch or wall. With your heel planted, put your toes up on the object and lean forward. Hold, then release.
- Now put your foot on the ground with the outside of the ankle against the object and try to push against it. Hold, then release. Try this with all 4 sides of your feet.
- Try walking on the 4 sides of the feet: tip toe, heels, and 2 outer edges.
- Exercise the toes by challenging them to pick up, move, and gently lay objects down. Use small towels or marbles, for example.
- It’s important to encourage your feet and ankles to develop balance and spatial awareness to react to uneven ground. Try balancing on one foot with the other foot gently placed against the balancing ankle. You can challenge yourself by raising the other foot to the knee or inside the thigh.
- Another way to do this is to stand on a balance ball (with one flat side), and you can start by trying to balance on 2 feet.
Always use protective footwear and gear. Use shoes that are appropriate for the activity to prevent injury. Finally, if you have a job where you stand or have to walk a lot each day, you may want to invest in orthotic shoes that are supportive and cushioned to prevent overuse injuries.
Do you have a sports injury? Or do you think you can benefit from custom orthotics? Then consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works. He will assess your children’s feet and ankles to properly diagnose and treat any issues. Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas), Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices!