I’m following up a request this week-although it follows on nicely from last week when we loosened off our calf muscles.
The stability of our lower leg depends on a couple of things.
Firstly our overall core stability as if we are not strong in the middle then we will struggle to control our limbs when riding.
Secondly the function of our hip flexors, if they are dysfunctional in anyway either too tight or maybe weak then the leg will struggle to maintain stability.
And finally todays topic- our ankles.
Now last week’s stretches for the lower leg and the ball rolling will have a big impact on any mobility issues in the ankles, other than that if you really struggle with mobility then simply circling them in both directions 10-15 times a couple of times per day, also pointing and flexing and turning the foot in and out.
Unfortunately as it not surrounded by any big muscles (unlike the knee) the ankle struggles with stability. Secondly if you have ever badly rolled your ankle this could have damaged the ligaments that cross the joint. Due to ligaments not having a direct blood supply they are very difficult to heal. In order to re-establish stability in ankles we must strengthen the tendons and the small stabilising muscles around it.
If you find your ankles do not seem particularly stable then there are some things you can do that can help it.
They are also incredibly simple, by that I mean straightforward no equipment; they are actually harder than you expect!
First simply stand on one leg for a length of time-say working up to a minute is a great starting point. Now try the same exercise with your eyes closed.
Then repeat this whilst standing on the ball of your foot. Eyes open to start then when you can comfortably do a minute without wobbling try closing your eyes.
Then if you wanted to up the ante you could try these exercises on an unstable surface such as a rolled up towel or a wobble cushion. Start with a flat foot and eyes open before working up to eyes closed and on the ball of your foot.
It is totally fine to hold on to something to get you started and it is fine to start really small as it really important you do not over fatigue in these positons as obviously this could cause you to roll your ankle-the very thing we are trying to avoid! You can do these in shoes if you prefer but for ultimate bulletproof ankles do them in bare feet-I just kept my socks on for the photos as the floor was cold!
Let me know how you get on, I love to receive your comments and suggestions!