Ankle sprains are one of the more common injuries for martial artists. And getting ankle sprains can set you up for chronic instability in your ankles, which just increases your risk of hurting yourself again.
So how do we get out of this vicious cycle?
Research was done on the effectiveness of the short foot exercise for people with chronic ankle instability due to ankle sprains. What they discovered is that the short foot exercise can be helpful in treating ankle sprains, and in preventing future chronic ankle instability. (You can read the article here.)
Specifically, the short foot exercise:
- activates and strengthens your intrinsic foot muscles,
- helps elevate and support the arch of your foot (builds up the longitudinal arch),
- improves your proprioception (awareness of body position and movement), which is altered after injury, and
- helps improve dynamic standing balance.
Check out this video on how to do the short foot exercise, to help strengthen your feet and reduce risk of future ankle injury:
How to perform the short foot exercise:
- Can be done while sitting or standing.
- Place foot flat on the floor.
- Use your foot muscles to lift the arch of your foot, while sliding the ball of your foot closer to your heel.
- Keep the toes relaxed.
- To make it more challenging, perform while standing in a partial lunge/split stance.
Please note: tightness in the medial part of your foot can make it difficult to keep the toes relaxed while practising this exercise. Keep working at it, and it will get easier!