6 Tips to Keep Feet and Ankles Strong and Healthy

Most people put more focus on larger muscle groups or areas of the body when thinking about health and fitness. However, your feet and ankles need special care to keep them strong and to reduce the risk of injuries.


Wear Appropriate Footwear

Whether you are exercising or just going through your day, the proper footwear can protect and provide support for your feet and ankles. High impact activities may require more cushioning and shock absorption than spending a day at work in an office. Additionally, be sure to leave enough space for toes to move. Frequently cramped toes can throw off your balance and lead to injury.


Modify High Heel Use

While it is best to avoid wearing high-heeled shoes, you can reduce your risk of injury by wearing heels with a wider base, such as wedges. Also, switching back and forth between heels and flats can put strain on your feet, ankles, and tendons. If you need to switch, make sure to stretch your calves, ankles, and feet frequently.


Stretch Regularly

Even if you do not wear high heels, stretching the feet and ankles is important, especially if you engage in physical activity. However, do not stretch cold muscles. Do a short warm up, then do the stretches appropriate for the activity you will perform.


Perform Strengthening Exercises

Certain exercises can strengthen the feet and ankles. Calf raises, ankle rotations, and many others are meant to build up the proper muscles, stretch tendons and ligaments, and reduce your risk of injury.


Quit for Pain

If an activity results in pain, stop that activity and rest the affected area. Soreness may be relieved with heat or cold, elevation, and rest.


Seek Help from a Specialist

If you experience pain in the foot or ankle that does not go away with rest, it is important to get foot or ankle injury treatment from a qualified specialist. While your family physician can recommend pain relievers, rest, and perhaps a couple of exercises, a treatment provider who specializes in the area of the foot and ankle will be able to come up with both a treatment plan and help you to reduce your risk of future injury.