Among athletes, one of the most common injuries they will experience is an ankle sprain. These troubling injuries may lead to chronic conditions such as a decreased range of motion, instability, and pain.
Proper stretching and exercise will help fire up the muscles to build ankle strength and prevent such injuries. Most commonly, the 4-way ankles series activates the ankle through:
It is unlikely that you – or your client – will need to perform all four different activations. The photos and instructions below provide a guide through the series, beginning with the most common activation of the series – dorsiflexion.
Step 1: Have your client sit on a table or bench with their foot and ankle off the surface. Using a resistance band, have them pull their toes toward them for a two-count. (Dorsiflexion)
Step 2: In a slow, controlled fashion, lower the foot downward– as if pressing on a gas pedal – for a four-count. (Plantar flexion)
Step 3: Adjust the resistance band and reposition to allow the foot and ankle to stretch laterally. Begin this stretch with the foot turn inward, but ensure the leg and knee stay straight allowing for a proper stretch. (Inversion)
Step 4: Have your client turn their foot outward for a two-count, ensuring the leg and knee are stabilized and slowly return to the inverted position using a four-count. (Eversion)
How did one athletic trainer rehab an ankle while on traveling for competitions? Read our article, “Rehabbing an Injured Ankle While on the Road.”
At Concordia University Chicago, we provide students with a comprehensive, science-based education in exercise science. Coaches, athletic trainers, personal trainers, and a variety of other sports professionals working with individuals and athletes of all levels learn to apply key principles to enhance sport performance, create strength and conditioning programs, and help to prevent and recover from injuries.