The most commonly injured joint in the body is the ankle. The ankle joint is easy to injure with sideways and twisting motion because it is designed to move in a straight line. Ankle stabilization exercises help rehabilitate and prevent ankle injuries. These exercises strengthen the muscles and tissue that move and support the ankles.
Ace Bandage Exercises
An Ace bandage provides a way to work your ankles together for improving stabilization. The Ace bandage offers a small amount of resistance. These exercises strengthen your ankles with a small movement, but you must use correct form or you won't target the correct area. An example of an Ace bandage stabilization exercise is the seated inversion exercise. To begin, sit down and wrap a bandage three times around the balls of your feet with your ankles touching. Tuck the extra end of the bandage into the wrapped part. Then, rotate your toes to point outward against the bandage while keeping your knees and ankles touching.
Standing Floor Balance Exercises
Standing on one foot on the floor challenges your balance and strengthens the ankle joint stabilizers. Begin this exercise while holding onto a chair or wall to help you balance as you stand on one foot. Bend your non-standing knee to 90 degrees behind you. As much as possible, do not let your standing leg wobble. Keep all four corners of your foot flat on the floor. You can make this exercise more difficult by not holding onto anything or by closing your eyes.
Standing Exercises With Balance Trainers
Balance trainers such as a wobble board or rocker board give your ankles an extra challenge for stabilization. Just standing on a rocker board is an advanced stabilization exercise. A basic exercise is to practice standing on the board with your feet pointing straight forward and equal distance from the center for up to two minutes. The board should not move toward the floor, but instead remain straight.
Resistance Band Exercises
Resistance bands have two uses in ankle stabilization training. One is to use the band for resistance while sitting down and manipulating the ankle. This is similar to the Ace bandage exercises except you focus on one ankle at a time and the resistance bands offer more resistance than bandages.
The other way to use resistance bands is when standing up and pulling the leg forward, backward and to the sides against resistance while balancing on one leg. These are advanced balance exercises because of the one-legged position and also are strengthening exercises for the legs. An example is the flexion exercise. Tie one end of a band to a heavy object at floor height and the other end to your right ankle. Stand facing away from the object on your left leg with the band taut and then bring your right leg forward with the knee straight as far as you can. Holding your arms out to the sides helps you balance.