When you get a lot of pain in your feet and ankles, or they seem to “crack” a lot, or you feel like your feet are clumsier than usual, you may be on your way to sustaining an injury to your ankles.
The cracking and clumsiness that you may experience means there is some instability and weakness in your ankle. This weakness makes you prone to injury. If an injury occurs, it will likely be a sprained ankle or pain from an accumulating change in your bones and tendons that can lead to heel spurs (abnormal bone growth that becomes painful at the bottom of your foot) or plantar fasciitis and bunions.
There’s an important and quick exercise and stretch routine you can get in the habit of practicing so you can develop strong, stable ankles. It works just as simply as brushing your teeth, in fact, you may be able to do this while brushing your teeth every day.
Here’s what you do for 10 days to strengthen your ankles:
Day 1– Do a 3 minute range of motion (ROM) exercise for your feet. Take your foot and point your toes to your head, then to the ground. Hold each stretch for 3 deep breathes. Then rotate your foot left and right as far as it will go (hold each side through 3 deep breathes). Then roll your foot in and roll your foot out (hold each side for 3 deep breathes). Take 20 minutes to research a good pair of closed-toe shoes with a low sole and good mobility at the mid-foot that you can wear every day. Good shoes will make all the difference for creating strong, comfortable feet.
Day 2– Do your 3 minute ROM exercise and schedule a time to try on the shoes you researched.
Day 3– Do the 3 minute ROM exercise. With your scheduled shoe fitting on the books, take some time to compare other shoe brands too.
Day 4– Do the 3 minute ROM exercise. Now add star-pattern lunges to strengthen your leg and foot muscles. While one foot stays in the same place on the ground and with your hands on your hips, take a big step forward with your other foot and bend down into a lunge. Do this pivoting in a circle, rotating clock-wise into 3 other directions until you get back to where you started. Try on the shoes you researched- buy them if they’re comfortable, and you like them.
Day 5– Do the 3 minute ROM exercise and the star-pattern lunges 5 times around. If you regularly wear sandals and slippers, research for a good pair that will support your feet. Make sure they will be secure on your feet, give some arch support, have a flat sole (no platforms), and have a comfortable and cushioned pad for your foot on the inside.
Day 6– Do the 3 minute ROM exercise and the star-pattern lunges 5 times around. Schedule a time to try on the sandals or slippers you’ve researched.
Day 7– Do the 3 minute ROM exercise and the star-pattern lunges 10 times around. Remember, you’ve got a date for healthy feet when you’re going to try on those sandals you know you’ll wear all the time.
Day 8– Do the 3 minute ROM exercise and the star-pattern lunges 10 times around. Try on the sandals and slippers you researched – buy them if they’re comfortable and feel secure on your feet (like they will stay on without much effort).
Day 9– Do the 3 minute ROM exercise and the star-pattern lunges 10 times around. Are you wearing your shoes, sandals, or slippers and not going barefoot? If you are, that’s good. Make sure to rely more heavily on the shoes and sandals than the slippers. Your shoes are likely better made to support your feet, so you avoid pain or injury.
Day 10– Do the star-pattern lunges 10 times around and keep these exercises and stretches in your calendar, especially for next 11 days as doing anything for 21 days creates a new healthy habit. Start doing the 3 minute ROM exercises 2 times during the day, each time you brush your teeth. You’ll get extra brushing in too!
You may still have some cracking sounds coming from your ankle and feet joints from time to time, especially while they are adapting to your new shoes. This is your past joint fixations that are hard to clear out on your own. It’s important to take care of these right away so all the bones and joints above your feet and ankles aren’t in pain either.
We adjust our client’s feet and make the best shoe recommendations so your foot joints are moving free and comfortably much faster. If you have any questions or need help, contact us.