If you’re looking for a way to improve your ankle strength, using a balance board may be the answer.
Balance boards are designed to improve balance and coordination, which in turn can help with overall ankle stability.
They can be used as part of a regular training routine or even just before an activity that puts your ankles at risk for injury.
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Here is why a balance board can be good for ankle rehab
Your ankle is the joint that connects your foot to your leg, allowing for movement in all directions.
Because it’s responsible for pivoting, twisting and other movements, maintaining healthy ankles takes work.
Using a balance board can help with this process by increasing balance and strengthening the small muscles in your ankles.
The use of a balance board is often recommended as part of an ankle rehab routine by many doctors, trainers, and therapists.
By using a balance board with similar activities to those you’ll be doing once fully rehabilitated, you can start getting used to these motions early on and reduce the risk of injury.
Balance boards can be used by people who suffer from ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, and other conditions involving the ankles to improve strength and stability.
To see how beneficial a balance board could be for your ankle rehab, use one every day before you start an activity or movement that places stress on your ankles.
You can even use one while watching your favorite TV show.
How do you use a balance board ankle rehab?
Using a balance board can help with ankle rehab by creating proprioception, or positional awareness.
This sense of knowing where your body is without looking comes from the ankles and feet, so any activity that uses these areas can increase this sensation.
Balance boards are especially effective because the instability they provide challenges your ability to stay balanced while focusing on another activity.
The more you can do at once, the greater the gains will be.
Proprioception is improved with every use of a balance board, so aim to make them part of your daily routine.
For example, if you’re sitting down to watch TV in the evening try using a balance board for one show.
As your balance and ankle strength improve, increase the amount of time you spend on the board and try doing it while cooking dinner or even watching a movie.
Doing this regularly will strengthen your muscles and increase overall stability in no time.
Ankle strengthening exercises at home
Regular exercise and stretching can help improve strength in your ankles. Adding a balance board into the mix will increase this even further, but you may want to add some ankle strengthening exercises at home as well.
Some simple ways to strengthen your ankles without equipment:
Lunge with a twist:
Start in a high plank position with hands directly under shoulders.
Bring your right knee forward and drop it to the floor outside your right hand.
As you stand back up twist to the left side, rotating from your hips.
Be sure to keep abs engaged as you reach across with a straight spine.
You can do these on your knees or toes for a lower-intensity workout, or on your toes for a more intense one.
Since you’re balancing on your arms and hands, this will help improve balance while also strengthening the ankles and small muscles in this area.
Holding a dumbbell if you wish, stand with feet hip-distance apart.
Keeping your core engaged, lift your right leg off the floor behind you as you bend forward at the hips. Be sure to keep looking straight ahead throughout the move.
You can do these on each side for extra work.
By dancing to music with high beats per minute, you’ll be doing a lot of quick, repetitive foot movements.
The faster you move your feet, the more difficult it will be to remain balanced on the board.
Other great options are jogging in place or jump rope.
When should I use a balance board for ankle rehab?
Balance boards are best used before an activity that puts stress on ankles (soccer, for example).
Doing so will improve balance and stability while also increasing strength.
This can minimize the risk of injury during these activities, so using a balance board before play will be helpful in multiple ways.
For ankle rehab or strengthening exercises at home, you can use it whenever it fits into your schedule.
For example, using it for 5 minutes while cooking dinner can not only improve these muscles but also make dinner time more fun.
How long should I stay on the balance board?
You can sit or stand on a balance board however long is comfortable, making it easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
As you feel more comfortable with the instability, aim to do it for longer periods of time.
You can also try doing multiple activities at once on your board.
For example, you could sit down to read a book during commercial breaks while watching TV.
This will not only improve ankles and balance but also give you something fun to do between shows.
When should I start using a balance board for ankle rehab?
Balance boards aren’t just for those who are currently having pain or discomfort in the ankles.
In fact, they’re great as preventative care as well!
Whether you want to be able to stand on one leg better or you want to improve your balance on ice skates, a balance board is a great way to help you do this.
You can also use it as a supplement to physical therapy exercises for an ankle injury.
A balance board is good for your ankles because it helps you improve stability, balance, and strength.
It provides a fun way to work on the muscles without doing strenuous exercise.
And it can be a great help before playing sports or other activities that put stress on ankles.