Modified yoga strengthens the ankles after injury
If you have broken your ankle, torn ankle or foot ligaments, or have suffered an extreme sprain; Modified yoga can effectively strengthen weak ankles. Weak ankles need time to strengthen. The poses require some practice and patience. If you progress slowly, modified yoga will begin to strengthen your ankles. The most important thing is to go at your own pace and give yourself enough time to rest. We’re not going to rush the recovery period from healing, and weight-bearing poses can be painful to start with. The way to proceed is with frequent starts and stops. Starts and stops.
We’re going to do some weight bearing poses and we’re going to do some ankle stretches. All of which will be uncomfortable as you recover. One of the first that I suggest for weak ankles are some wall stretches that will stretch the Achilles and heel. Facing the wall, put your hands on the wall at chest level. We begin with a lunge stretch with the left foot forward and the right foot back. Try to keep your right heel down, while pushing your weight forward into your left leg lunge. Release after about five seconds and do it again to the same side or change sides. If you have changed feet, the right foot forward and the left foot back. Put your left heel down if you can. Slowly launch yourself forward. Stop if the stretch is too much. Pause and twist your ankle in a circle. Switch sides and rotate the other ankle. Do the same lunge against the wall, once again trying to keep your heel down. Do both sides.
The next pose can be done against the wall or standing without holding on. Standing with your feet about hip-width apart, push your heels up for a count of five to fifteen seconds. Low. High heels one more time. Now, we’re going to push up on the balls of our feet for five to fifteen seconds, and lower our heels halfway, before you’re done. Up, halfway down and up again. Lower yourself completely and rest. Again, raise your heels all the way up, lower your heels halfway, go all the way up and down to rest on the floor.
You can hold on to the wall or the back of a chair for this exercise. We will try the exercise with one leg. Stand on one foot and let the other rest near the other leg or leaning against the leg. Press up on the heel of the foot you are standing on, count for five to fifteen seconds, and lower yourself down. Standing on one foot causes leverage. Lower and twist your ankle. Stand on the other foot and press on that heel for five to fifteen seconds. This strengthens the ankle, calf, and Achilles tendon.
For the next pose, you can hold onto the back of a chair if you are concerned about balance. First stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight to your left foot. See where the big toe begins on the left foot. Bring the right heel to the side of the left big toe, walk the heel about two inches in front of the left big toe, and then place the right heel on the floor to the right about thirty inches. Bend your left leg so that all the weight is on your left. With your right foot, bring your heel down and lift your toes. This is a dynamic stretch and you will feel it in your ankles, quads, and calves. Take your right hand and slide it down your right leg until you can’t reach any further. If you can reach your toes with your right foot, hold it down for five to fifteen seconds. But hold your leg or foot where it feels comfortable.
If you can’t do that as described. Modification can be done with a strap. Put the strap on your right foot first, hold your strap and lean your body towards your right foot, as much as you can. Holding onto the leash is a good modification if you are not overly flexible or are concerned about balance. This provides good leverage and is a pose that can be done safely on a leash.
Now we change. If you’re holding onto a chair, switch hands. Get away from the chair. Stand on both feet, shift all your weight to the right foot. Move your left heel past the big toe of your right foot by two inches and slide about a foot to the left. Put your left heel down and bring your toes up. Slide your left hand down as far as it will go. Hold the pose for five to fifteen seconds. Release.
After our modified yoga poses, if your ankles, feet, or legs hurt. Rest your feet, support your feet and legs, and ice your ankles if necessary. Be patient. It takes time to heal, and getting used to weight bearing again takes some practice. But if you continue with your modified yoga poses daily, you will start to feel strong again. Modified yoga can be very effective, but don’t rush the process. You will get stronger, just allow yourself patience and allow it to be okay to be exactly where you are now. Nothing else. You will get there.