4 Moves to Prevent Ankle Injury

Your ankles will thank you for better mobility.

Any runner knows a quick Google search will turn up effective training plans for marathons, 10k and 5k runs, and hundreds of tips for getting faster, improving endurance and even fighting boredom on long runs.

But when it comes to longevity—being healthy enough to run for as many years as we enjoy it— many of us are largely running on faith.

Trickle-down recovery

These days, every sport has top athletes reaching new, amazing achievements at older ages than we used to think possible. (Just Google “Oldest Olympian 2016” to see what we mean.)

And it’s no accident. One of the biggest open secrets the elite athletes have is planned recovery. This includes rest and sleep but also methods like mobility training to reduce wear and tear on the body.

Mobility training

In a healthy human body, bones don’t touch, they float within a structure of connective tissue, skin and muscles. Mobility is our ability to maintain this float. Repetitive movements, injuries, inflammation and inactivity can decrease our mobility.

But we don’t need to just hope we don’t lose mobility. We can train it. All we need is a plan.

A systematic approach to mobility can work for any area of the body. Here, we’ll focus on our ankles to reduce wear and tear not only on the joints of our feet but also on our knees and lower back.

1. Calm the system

First, we need to relax our nervous system. Guarding is a protective mechanism that kicks in as a response to an injury or near miss. It tightens up everything around a joint, preventing movement.

This is helpful while we are injured, but it causes problems when it stays on high alert after the injury has healed.

This Ankle Squash With Slow Breathing will reduce guarding and create more mobility through the front of the ankle.


2. Circulate and hydrate

When the nervous system locks down a joint, it prevents movement. This blocks normal circulation, dehydrates the tissues in the area and shrinks the float in our joint. We can support normal function with techniques like this Ankle Rub Plus Scrub.


3. Re-educate the muscles

Have you ever stepped wrong while walking and then felt like your stride was “off” afterward? That stumble disrupted the rhythm and timing of your muscles, which is also a symptom of limited mobility.

In this Multidirectional Foot Flex, we turn the various stabilizer muscles that surround the foot, ankle and hips on and off to restore normal rhythm and timing to the muscles.


NOTE: Only reach with your foot as far as you can while staying in control.

NOTE: Only reach the weight out as far as you can with good control.

4. Put it all together

To maintain the mobility we just created, we need to practice using it. In this Ankle Mobility Circuit, we create and maintain space as we move in multiple directions, with various levels of resistance. A mobility circuit like this can serve as a prep before a run or workout (one to two circuits) or as a stand-alone workout on recovery days (four circuits).


Photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo