4 simple steps to injury-proofing your ankles

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A little extra time spent on strength and conditioning could save you from ankle injuries altogether. ‘Activities that stress the neurological system are most effective here, because they will speed up the signal time from the foot and ankle to the other muscles in the leg and body, and this will also improve your reaction times,’ explains physiotherapist Paul Hobrough of Physio and Therapy. ‘If you can do this, you will certainly lower your injury potential.’

He recommends the following exercises:

Wobble-board balance

Using a wall for balance, step onto a wobble board, facing forward. Let go of the wall and remain straight and still for 30 seconds. Repeat five times, then change the way you’re facing and repeat the routine. Once you have mastered this, progress to squatting on the board.

Single-leg squats

Stand on one leg and squat down. Use a mirror to check your leg is stable and your knee isn’t moving in. Lower as far as you can, then push back up without letting your non-squatting leg touch the ground. Repeat for three sets of 8-10. To progress, increase the reps.

Lying glute raises

Lay on your front with your right leg bent 90 degrees and angled slightly out from the other leg. Flex the foot on your bent leg, then pulse upwards as if you were trying to touch the ceiling. Do 10 reps, rest and repeat with the other leg. Repeat three times on each leg.

Neurological training

Sitting on a chair, grip a small towel with your toes and lift it up. Pause, then slowly and carefully place it back down again. Perform three sets of 10 lifts with each foot. Short on time? This is a move you can even sneak in while you’re sitting at your desk.