The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Fast Fitness - Develop Ankle Stability Sense While Stretching

Here is Fast Friday Fitness - prevent a common source of overstretched lateral ankle ligament, which is one contributor to repeated sprains - turning the ankle when stretching:

  1. When you stretch your hip and legs, or sit cross legged or in yoga poses, notice if you allow the foot to turn, increasing stretch on the outside ligaments of the ankle - too much supination. Reader Liz demonstrates in photo 1 below.
  2. Straighten your ankle, Liz photo 2, below.
  3. You may notice you get more good stretch from your hip to make up for the motion you were getting by turning your ankle. Holding straight gives better stretch in the hip, and better ankle stability training.

Avoid turning ankle, overstretching outer ligament, demonstrated by Liz in photo 1 above /\

Reader Liz demonstrates straighter healthy ankle (photo 2)

Then remember to use the sense and knowledge of ankle straightening when you stand, run, take stairs. Lying down to stretch will not train stable ankles. The idea of this post is not to make ankles worse with your stretches. Not all things are good to stretch. Avoid the unhealthful practice of lengthening the side ankle ligaments, shown again in the photo below:

Ligaments are like a briefcase latch. They attach the top bone to the bone below it. Like a latch, a ligament is not supposed to stretch, but hold position, so that the briefcase hinge (your ankle joint) does not rattle and the briefcase does not pop open (side of your ankle sprain). While sitting cross legged, straighten the ankle so that it does not turn up.

Liz sent in several success stories. Here is her first:
How a Reader Stopped Recurring Pain, Got Stronger, and Said Aha!

Unhealthy Yoga Ankles
Better Hip Stretch - Check Your Ankles
How To Treat Ankle Sprains and Prevent Them
No More Ankle Sprains Part II

Read success stories of these methods and send your own.
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Healthy photos thanks to Liz of New Zealand
Ligament stretch yoga ankles by Than Tan
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.