Your ankle is surrounded with cartilage which serves as a cushion for your joints while ligaments connect, stabilise and support your bones. According to the New York Times, about 8 million people a year experience ankle pain and repeated ankle injuries too.
A good way to check this is to come into Up-Dog position and look over your shoulder and see if your top of your foot if parallel with your shin or calf, effectively is it straight. If it is not, and if the foot is still flexing in towards your shin, you may have tight ankles, shins or calf muscles, which may at this time be restricting the movement.
When it comes to your ankle, you need to check with 3 S-es:
- supple so they are flexible;
- strong, so they support your weight;
- stable, so you remain balanced.
All these help will you perform a variety of actions and activities.
Yoga to Overcome Ankle Pain
Tadasana (Standing Pose):
This yoga for ankle pain pose stretches the whole foot, especially the arch. It stretches and lengthens all the long muscles of the body, while also opening the spinal, shoulder and hip joints.
This pose strengthens the muscles of the neck, lower back, abdomen and pelvis. Lung capacity increases, and the respiratory muscles become firmer. Regular practice of this asana not only strengthens the body but also makes it flexible.
At first, practice the tadasana with standing against the wall to maintain the correct posture, with hips towards the wall and the ankles a few inches away from it.
- Stand with the feet hip-distance apart grounding the feet. Lift the energy from the ground up towards the torso.
- Gently extend the spine maintaining natural curve, by tucking the tailbone down towards the earth and the pelvis in towards the body.
- Roll the shoulders up towards the ears and drop them down towards the hips. Focus on the breath.
- Inhale; raise the arms up towards the sides, with the shoulders touching the wall, and the palms facing forwards, stretching and extending the torso.
- Exhale; bring the arms down. Repeat 5 to 10 times; relax.
- Inhale; raise both the arms up towards the ceiling with the palms parallel, make sure the shoulders are pressing down towards the hips.
- Exhale; bring the arms down towards the body. Repeat 5 to 10 times; relax.
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose):
Vajrasana is an excellent stretch for your shins, ankles, quads and lower back. Also, calms the mind and body very effectively and is also good for the digestive system.
- Kneel with the knees closer, stretch out your toes backward and big toes touching each other. (Practice with a blanket under your feet for 30 seconds at a time. You can eventually learn to sit for as long as 20 minutes in this miraculous pose.)
- Place your buttocks in the space between both of your heels separated but big toes touching.
- The spine and head should be straight and relaxed.
- Breath normally closing your eyes and relax the whole body.
This pose brings the ankles into a relaxed state and opens up the hips and lower back.
- Start seated in butterfly, with the soles of your feet together and your knees wide.
- Move your left leg back behind your body, keeping the knee bent so that your heel is close to your left sit bone.
- Place your right hand on the floor next to you and bring your left hand to your right thigh.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine, then exhale to twist your shoulders to the right.
- Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides.
This seated pose stretches the top of the ankle and foot, alleviating tightness caused by keeping the ankles in a constant flexed position.
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and both feet on the floor.
- Move your right leg back behind you, bringing it close to your hip. Your foot should be pointing straight back. If you feel any pain or pinching in your right knee, put a block underneath your hips.
- Straighten your left leg down your mat in front of you.
- Place your hands on the ground behind your hips and lean back into your palms, keeping your elbows soft and your shoulders relaxed.
- Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides.
This is a modified version of full lotus pose, you’ll feel a stretch in your feet and ankles while protecting the knees and hips.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Keep a tall spine.
- Hug your right knee into your chest. Then bring your right ankle to the crease of your left hip so that the sole of your right foot faces the sky.
- Bend your left knee and cross your left ankle underneath your right knee.
- Place your palms face up on your thighs and breathe here for 8 breaths. Then, straighten both legs out in front of you and switch sides.
Malasana (The Sumo Pose):
Malasana stretches several lower-body major muscle groups. Strengthens and makes ankles flexible, increases mobility in the hips, stretches the back and soothes back pain.
- Start in a standing forward fold with your feet slightly wider than your hips. The closer your feet are together, the deeper the stretch will be in your ankles. Turn your toes out 45-degrees.
- Place a block on the medium height between your feet. Sit your hips down until you are comfortably sitting on the block.
- Bring your palms to heart center and use your elbows to gently press your thighs open while simultaneously squeezing the thighs inward. Draw your navel up and in. Keep your heels down.
- If you don’t feel a stretch in your ankles, play with bringing your feet in closer or removing the block. Hold for eight breaths.
- Warm up the ankle joint and increase mobility with this stretch.
- Begin sitting up on your mat. Straighten both legs down your mat and place your hands down by your sides.
- Point your toes until you feel a nice stretch through the front of both ankles.
- Then, flex your toes back towards your shins as far as you can, feeling a stretch through the Achilles and calves.
- Repeat for eight reps.
Stretching your ankles in this seated pose strengthens side-to-side motion and improves overall mobility.
- Start seated on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Sit up tall, engage your abs, and place your hands on the floor next to your hips. Bring your legs all the way together and flex your feet.
- Turn the soles of your feet inward so that they look like they are coming into a prayer position. Then, reverse the motion and turn the soles of your feet outward.
- Repeat the inward and outward motion a total of eight times.
Don’t use yoga as a substitute for any other physical therapy exercises prescribed by your doctor.