Many people in the UK who run and take part in outdoor activities, often ask how they can improve their balance. In a nutshell, they must simply test the stability of their feet and ankles through balancing exercises. This is important as without balance we can fall over and suffer ankle sprains or fractures and put unnecessary strain on to our ankle joints. By testing our stability through exercise, we can strengthen our surrounding muscles and ankle joints. Below are 3 exercises showing how you can improve your stability and balance.

Foot and Ankle Exercise 1

Make sure you are comfortable and in a good position. Next, challenge your stability and try standing on something that has a slightly unsteady soft surface like a pillow. The reason a pillow will work for this exercise is because the unstable surface is soft but also forces your feet and ankles to try and find balance, which, consequently works your joints and connecting muscles. Next, begin by slowly raising up the backs of your feet whilst not moving from the spot. You may find that you lose your balance but persevere and aim to perform ten foot raises whilst standing on the cushion. This will help improve your balance whilst also strengthening your muscles and ankle joints. If you have recovered from a particular injury, such as an ankle sprain for example, then physiotherapy exercises like these are a great way of building up the muscles around your ankle and getting you back to full health. Because every foot and ankle injury varies in severity, it’s important to speak with a qualified medical professional before attempting physiotherapy exercises. It is always recommended to take your time when recovering and to not over exert yourself.

Foot and Ankle Exercise 2

Another exercise that helps improve your balance and challenges your stability, is walking in a conventional line, heel to toe. This exercise is great for strengthening your surrounding muscles, whilst also mobilising your ankle joints so that they become supple and more flexible. If you suffer from ankle arthritis then this exercise is really good at reducing stiffness and increasing blood circulation.

Foot and Ankle Exercise 3

Lastly, a great exercise for improving steadiness is by reducing our visibility which we often rely on for balance. With this in mind, stand on one leg and quickly move your head from left to right so that you are unable to focus on anything. Next repeat this exercise, but this time, completely close your eyes. You will notice that without your vision it makes balancing on one leg extremely difficult. However with practice you will get better and improve your overall balance and strengthen your muscles and joints as time goes by.

Once you have become skilled within these exercises, the next challenge that can improve your balance and stability even more so, is to combine all three exercises. For example, stand on one leg on a soft pillow with your eyes closed for one whole minute. Alternatively, you could walk in a conventional line, heel to foot turning your head left to right for the same time period. Repeat these exercises and you will notice that you will improve your balance, stability and vision.

As the human body ages, naturally our balance can often deteriorate. However, by taking time out of your daily schedule each day, to try these stability exercises, you can slow down the rate in which our balance deteriorates.

Closing thoughts…

Here at Dr Federico Usuelli’s leading foot and ankle clinic, our aim is to provide advanced and unrivalled orthopaedic care and therapy to all our English speaking patients. Dr Federico Usuelli is one of the world’s leading foot and ankle surgeons and has successfully diagnosed and treated many English speaking patients suffering from a wide range of foot and ankle conditions and injuries. So if you want to speak to our friendly team about a foot and ankle related issue then please contact our foot and ankle clinic today!