Easy, Effective Foot and Ankle Warm-Ups
You should always take a few minutes for warm-ups before athletic activity, whether you prefer team sports, individual sports, running, dancing, or other forms of physical exertion. These few minutes can be the key difference between a body that’s ready and primed for activity, versus one that’s on the verge of breaking down with a sudden injury.
The best warm-ups combine both cardiovascular exercises with stretches to loosen your muscles, tendons, and joints. As you go through your routine, though, don’t forget about your feet and ankles! As the foundation of your body, they are particularly important to protect, and especially susceptible to injury. Almost everyone, for example, seems to have suffered an ankle sprain at one time or another.
Get Ready before You Get Going
Achilles tendon stretches are among the most effective at warming up the ankle and protecting it against injury. While sitting with your legs straight out in front of you, try these easy stretches:
- Ankle inversion and eversion. Turn feet inward (inversion) as far as possible while keeping legs on the ground, and hold for ten sections. Do five sets, then switch to turning your legs as far outward as possible (eversion).
- Towel calf stretch. Loop a towel around the front of your feet and gently pull until you feel the stretch.
If you have a chair handy, you can also try these:
- Raise one foot a few inches off the floor, then slowly and deliberately rotate it clockwise for 15-20 seconds, then counterclockwise for the same duration.
- Grab a tennis ball and gently roll your foot over it, forward and backward. Not only is this a great way to warm up and prepare the arch for activity, but it feels good, too!
There are dozens of different stretches you can use to get your feet, ankles, and lower legs in gear for activity. The ones listed above are some good, general-purpose options that are appropriate for most people and activities. However, there may be others even better, depending on your chosen activity and physical capabilities. For assistance developing a foot and ankle exercise program, or treatment for an ongoing foot injury, please call the experts at the Kansas Foot Center at (866) 222-5177.