Ankle sprains can be detrimental to an athlete’s performance, and recovery can range from weeks to months, to even a year for the most severe cases. However, there are ways to help prevent these ankle sprains from occurring by strengthening and improving the activation of the muscles surrounding the ankle, as well as the muscles higher up the leg. Two exercises that can be performed at home for this purpose are the Ankle Side Steps and Ankle Monster Walks. All you will need to perform this exercise is a resistance band loop.
Ankle Side Steps:
With a resistance band loop that is of adequate resistance, place it around the front aspect of both feet, closer to the toes. Then, in an athletic stance, with the feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, step out to the right with the right foot so that the feet are now about two shoulder widths apart. Next step to the right with the left foot, bringing the feet back to the starting position. Repeat this 10x to the right and then switch and perform 10x to the left. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Ankle Monster Walks:
For this exercise, keep the resistance band around the front aspect of both feet, closer to the toes. Then, in an athletic stance, with the feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, step forward with the right foot, and, without placing the foot on the ground, move it out to the right making an arcing motion. Next, bring the left foot toward the right foot so it is back in the starting position. Repeat the same motion, this time with the left foot. Repeat this 10x forward with each leg and then 10x backward with each leg. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Perform these exercises every day for 1-2 times per day to strengthen the muscles around the ankles and the hips to help prevent ankle sprain injuries.