Racket Sports and Ankle Injuries

Due to the dynamic nature of racket sports, ankle injuries such as ankle sprains or Achilles tendon tears/ruptures, are very common. Not only are these injuries often painful, but they also take you off the court and out of the game for a while.

So what does it take to reduce the risk of injury (and re-injury) for the ankle?

For most people, it means getting off the weight machines, elliptical, treadmill, etc. and starting to incorporate more mobility, balance (ability to maintain steady positioning), agility (ability to move quickly and easily) and gentle plyometrics (i.e.: jumping). 

Below is my go-check list that I use in the clinic that involves all of the skills listed above. There may be some things that are easy for you in this list and others that are more challenging. I often recommend focusing on the more challenging but not forgetting about the easier ones because maintaining skills is just as important as progressing them. 

  1. Establish good ankle mobility in all planes.
    Recommended exercises are standing gastroc and soleus stretches and ankle circles both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
    Recommended FITFOREVER videos: 
    1. Standing ankle mobs (found in exercise library)
    2. Ankle Mobility: All Levels (found in Fundamentals Library)
  2. Work on static and dynamic balance.
    Recommended FITFOREVER videos:
    1. Multi-directional Movement and Balance: All Levels (found in Dynamic Strength Library)
    2. Balance and Agility: Intermediate/Advanced (found in Fundamentals Library)
    3. Balance & Control: Advanced (found in Fundamentals Library)
    4. Lower Body: Intermediate/Advanced 1 (found in Dynamic Strength Library)
  3. Master hip and core strategies for balance.
    Recommended FITFOREVER videos:
    1. Total Body Integration: Intermediate/Advanced (found in Fundamentals Library)
    2. Rotation Workout: Intermediate/Advanced (found in Dynamic Strength Library)
  4. Work on agility and gentle explosive movements.
    Recommended FITFOREVER videos:
    1. Agility, Mobility and Balance: Basic/Intermediate 1 (found in CardioFIT Library)
    2. Tabata: Advanced 3 (found in CardioFIT Library)

Give these workouts a try to take the guesswork out of protecting your ankles while on the court!

~ Blaire Brown, PT, DPT, OCS, SST,
FITFOREVER Expert Trainer