A physically active body must achieve a stable balance around each active joint for top performance. Ligaments connect the bones to each other, and provide much of the joint's stability. Muscles are connected to bone by tendons, allowing for movement at the joints.
Although the ligaments connecting the bones in the ankle are necessary for proper function, there are several muscles that also help support the ankle during any type of activity.
# Balance Training
- Standing on one leg: Hold for 30 seconds, working up to one minute per leg.
- Balance and catch: Standing on one leg, catch and throw a ball with a partner. Make certain to throw the ball right, left, high, low. Perform three sets of 30.
- One leg mini squats: On one leg do a half squat with the opposite leg out front for 10 reps, out to the side for 10 reps and behind for 10 reps. Repeat three times.
The ankle can be strengthened in several ways. The first exercise uses thera-band for resisted range of motion. Thera-band can be purchased at a medical supply store. When performing the following exercises, place the band around the top of the foot and curl the toes at the end of the movement to work the internal muscles of the foot. Perform three sets of 20 in each direction.
# Scissor Hops
Begin in a lunge position. Jump and switch feet in mid-air landing with the opposite foot forward.
# Standing Squat Jumps
Begin in a quarter squat position. Jump from that position and land softly.