Some people don’t have any problems when running on road or cycling, but as soon as they run off-road, their ankles begin to get sore, probably because of the sideways movement. What exercises can you do to strengthen weak ankles?
This is a problem runners often encounter. The smaller stabilising muscles around the sole of your foot and around the ankle have to be trained. Also, your proprioceptive ability – the ability for the brain to know what position your joint is in – needs to be improved.
Try single leg squats on a wobble board. If you don’t have one, do these on a folded bath towel. Ensure that when you go down into your squat position your kneecap is in line with an imaginary line between your first and second toes. You will notice that your ankle and calf muscle need to work hard to keep good form. Do four sets of 20 reps per day.
Secondly, try the Star Balance Test. To perform the test, you’ll need four strips of tape each about 2 metres long. First mark out a ‘+’ and then diagonally put an ‘X’ over it to get a star. Now stand in the middle of the star in a single leg squat position. With the other leg try reaching as far as possible down the strips without losing balance – go through the entire star clockwise. This is quite difficult but don’t give up. It’ll be worth it!