Hiking and Ankle Health

hiking and ankle health

It’s time to get ready for the trails again! Have you ever taken a step while hiking and suddenly felt your ankle roll? Maybe it was enough to cause injury, which puts you at risk for doing this again. Changes in terrain and uneven ground results in increased challenge to our ankles. But there are ways to improve your ankle health for hiking and get them ready for a safe experience. We have little receptors in our joints and tissues that help with proprioception or the awareness of where our joint is and what it is doing. This can be improved, but you have to practice. Here are some exercises you can do to help develop your proprioception and decrease risk of injury while out hiking. Start at the beginning and add challenges as you get better. Please stand next to a stable surface as needed to avoid falling!

Activities to Improve Ankle Health for Hiking

Here are some activities you can do to improve your ankle health and get them ready for hiking.

  • Firstly, stand with your feet apart, together, one foot in front of the other or on one foot on even ground
  • Turn your head back and forth, up and down or close your eyes while you maintain above positions
  • Add something uneven under your foot like a piece of foam, couch cushion or an incline
  • Step up/down from soft surface like foam
  • Walk heel to toe on a flat line or on a balance beam

You should feel the muscles around your ankles working hard to keep you upright and maintain your position. If you experience pain, please see your physician or physical therapist for an appropriate course of action. A physical therapist can also help target any specific flexibility or strength deficits that could be contributing to ankle injuries. Happy hiking!