Your ankles can endure a significant amount of impact during a soccer game, short, sharp turns on a dime with and without a soccer ball are common, particularly when you reach an elite level. Ankle injuries are common in soccer players, and though you can’t directly make your ankle stronger, you can strengthen the muscles near your joints for more stability. There also are steps you can take before a game of soccer to protect your ankles during the game. Also, if you twist or injure your ankle, stop playing immediately. Even if the pain subsides after a few minutes, a twisted, sprained, or compromised ankle joint requires rest to fully recover.
Ankle Strengthening For Soccer Players
Stabilize your ankles by strength training consistently to develop the muscles near your ankles. Resistance training will strengthen the muscles and tendons around your ankle, which helps protect the bones. Basic exercises such as standing and seated calf raises can help strengthen the soleus muscles below the calves. More specific ankle exercises include strapping a small, tubular resistance band around the front of your feet. Keep your heels planted and toes off the ground. Twist the front of your feet outward and away from each other. Perform balancing exercises on a stability ball. Lift one leg and balance yourself for at least one minute, then switch legs.
Improve your ankles’ flexibility and mobility by regularly doing stretches and rotational exercises. Stretch your calves by standing and facing a wall with your hands pressed against the wall at shoulder height. Then, take one large step backward with your right foot. Slowly press your right heel toward the ground. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, then switch sides. Even though this is a calf stretch, it promotes your ankles’ range of motion as well. Next, plant your toes into the ground so your foot is vertical. Slowly roll your ankle in a circular motion. Rotate your ankle for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.
A quick tip – wear shin guards equipped with ankle protectors. While most shin guards are simple insert guards, and while many young players watch the elite like Ronaldo, Messi, and others, you can get shin guards that are pulled on like socks. An elastic band wraps around the bottom of your heel and keeps the shin guard in place. The band is attached to two ankle protectors that cup each side of your ankle to help protect it from impact. The shin guard is attached to the ankle protector.
Wear socks when you play soccer. Though socks don’t provide significant protection, they can lessen the effects of cleats scraping against your ankle. Soccer socks come in various styles and are made from either cotton or synthetic material. Cotton soccer socks are usually thicker and provide slightly more protection than synthetic socks.
Wrap fitness tape around your ankle before putting on your equipment. If you have ankle problems, wrapping your ankle before a game is beneficial. The tape helps stabilize your ankle and provides some extra cushion that can lessen the effects of any impact. You can also wrap sports tape around your ankle with your equipment already on. This helps keep your socks and ankle protectors in place.
Here’s a good youtube video on ankle strength for soccer players
Reminder don’t play soccer if you have an ankle injury. Any impact to your ankle during a game could aggravate your injury. You need to take time to rehab your ankle properly.
About Dr. Bagwe
Dr. Bagwe is a leading orthopedic surgeon specializing in ankle and foot reconstruction. If you are looking for an orthopedic surgeon near you then look no further. Dr. Bagwe is an industry leader when it comes to foot and ankle surgery doctors in St. Louis. Dr. Bagwe and his friendly and professional team is ready to welcome you and tell you everything you need to know.
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Dr. Bagwe is an Orthopedic Surgeon in St. Louis, Missouri | As a world class lower extremity specialist Dr. Bagwe treats disorders of the knee, foot and ankle which cause acute or chronic pain. With several locations in the St. Louis metro area, we offer solutions for Arthritis, Sprains and strains, Bursitis and tendonitis, Fractures, sports related injuries, work related injuries, stress fracture, Cubital tunnel syndrome, Knee ligament tear (ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL), Meniscal (cartilage) tear, Heel spurs, Plantar fasciitis, Shin splints, Hammer toe and other toe disorders, Achilles tendon problems, Bunions, and more.