Ankle injuries are one of the most common orthopedic causes of an emergency room visit.
Sometimes after an injury, your body awareness system stops working properly, and you may need to do some specific balance exercises to re-teach your body what it needs to do.
In this blog post, we show you some simple and effective exercises you can do with Indian clubs in the context of rehab, and even prehab. Just make sure to have the go-ahead with your physician before you start!
The goals of ankle rehab usually are:
- Restore normal ankle mobility/ range of motion (ROM)
- Improve muscular strength and stability around the ankle
- Restore normal balance and proprioception to your entire lower extremity
Proprioception is your body’s ability to realize where it is in space. This body awareness is an important component of human movement, as it helps us to move fluidly and easily without having to consciously think about the forces (like gravity) that are acting upon us.
Indian clubs exercises target the lower body too!
The great thing about Indian clubs is that most of the benefits are reactive or happen on a reflexive level, meaning that you do not have to think about them. The clubs try to pull you off balance, and you automatically correct your posture to avoid loosing it.
The first exercise helps regain ankle range of motion, the second one helps with balance and proprioception.
More balance exercises for your ankle stability
After you have tried those 2 exercises, you can move on to more challenging balance board exercises as shown below.
No need for fancy equipment to make a simple balance board, be creative as we demonstrate in the video. Use zig zags and elevate the boards slightly instead of leaving them flat. Don’t go crazy though, make it interesting but safe!
If you want state of the art balance board, we have the Strobel and Walter yogaboard in stock. You can get the effect of training on water or snow right in your home fitness training space.
If it sounds like too much of a hassle, or you don’t have room, simply go outdoors and walk on uneven terrain (like sand and hills), barefooted if possible. This will build up strength and mobility too.
Release tight calves to improve ankle mobility, posture and range of motion
A 2015 study by Škarabot et al compared the effects of self myofascial release (SMR: a fancy term for auto massage) versus static stretching alone.
The results showed that range of motion at that ankle increased by 9.1% when SMR was performed along with a static stretching routine.
Athletes performing static strecthing alone only reported a 6.2% improvement.
Just about everybody reports tight calves. One of the reasons is that our ankles and feet are rarely challenged through their entire range of motion in our day to day lives. We walk on perfectly flat (and hard) surfaces, and spend way too much time in shoes constricting our feet.
We show you a way to use your Pahlavandle™ as a self massage tool, how to stretch your calves, and ways you can assess your improvement in range of motion.
Better ankle mobility might also help you sit deeper in a squat, so get rolling and swinging!