In the past two months I managed to sprain both of my ankles. Urgh. In late November I took a triple step off my front porch. On Thanksgiving, I slipped on ice at Zion National Park. Am finally feeling healed and have been looking for some exercises to strengthen my balance.
Here are a series of exercises that I hope will allow me to ski again. Hope you find them useful.
=== Alphabet Range of Motion ===
Sitting down, cross your left leg over your right leg.
Using your right ankle, trace the letters of the alphabet from A-Z, imagining your big toe as a writing instrument.
Cross your right leg over your left and do the same with your left ankle.
=== Ankle Lifts ===
Tie a Karate Belt or a similar sized piece of rope around both ends of a light dumbbell so it forms a triangle when you hold it by the center of the belt or rope.
Sit on a counter and insert your feet (covered by shoes) into the triangle and lower your feet with the weight. The rope should be just below your toes.
Using your ankles, lift the weight repeatedly.
=== Ankle Turns ===
Sitting on a counter, slide a long rope or jump rope under one foot.
Holding onto the rope, pull left so your ankle tilts left.
Going against the force caused by your arms, push your ankle right.
With your ankle now tilted right, pull right and push your ankle to the left.
Do this repeatedly and then do it with your other foot.
=== Toe Raises ===
Stand on the ground with feet parallel.
Raise your ankles so you are standing on your toes, and then go back down.
Repeat until tired. This will also work on your
=== Toe Tappers ===
Sit in a chair.
Keep your heel on the floor or ground and tap your toes up and down.
Set an initial goal of 1 minute of continuous, steady tapping per ankle, and try to increase the time you tap or the speed you tap from there
=== Heel Drops ===
Put a phone book or another large book on the ground.
Stand on it with the balls of your feet so your heels touch the ground. If they can't touch, find a smaller book.
Raise your feet up so they form a 90° angle with the book.
Hold the position for a few seconds, then let your heels fall back to the ground.
Repeat until tired.
=== Proprioception ===
Grab a large elastic band and put it under one leg of a sturdy, four-legged chair.
Put your left foot inside the band so that your left foot is closest to the chair.
Holding onto the chair, cross your left foot in front of your right leg as far as the elastic permits. Do this repeatedly.
Turn around so your right foot is closest to the chair with your left foot still inside the elastic.
Pull your left foot away from you as far as the elastic permits. Do this repeatedly.