Done correctly, lifting weights is a great way to build and strengthen muscle tone and improve respiratory rate. Done incorrectly, weight lifting can seriously damage parts of the body that are difficult to restore. A good weight lifting routine includes exercises for all body systems and parts, and the first step in creating a regimen is finding the right protective gear and knowing how to use it.
Correct Form and Technique
One of the most important ways to protect all the joints, particularly the ankles, when lifting weights is to make sure you are using the correct form and techniques for every muscle group you work. Gradually increase the weight amount over a period of time to build ligament and tendon strength. This also increases the stability of the joints and can help to prevent injuries in the long run.
If you regularly deal with foot pain during weight lifting, you can modify your routine to take pressure off the feet and the ankles. For example, choose seated leg extensions, hip abductions with resistance machines, and knee flexion in place of lunges and squats. This takes the pressure off your lower joints and ensures that they are strong enough to support the rest of the body.
Once your pain has subsided for a significant length of time, try moving back to weight-bearing exercises like lunges and squats, but be careful to pay close attention to any pain that flares up again. Start with light weights and increase the weight slowly by a few pounds each week.
Strengthen the Joints
You can also protect your ankles and feet with exercises that strengthen them. Do ankle flexion and calf raises with a resistance band in order to prevent future foot pain and injuries. Wear an ankle brace to provide extra support for your ankles joints when you are doing any weight-bearing exercises of any part of the body.
Warm up and Stretch
Many weight lifters skip the important step of warming up and stretching before beginning a workout and this can be incredibly dangerous to the body. Warming up allows the muscles and joints to loosen up before a workout, and stretching increases flexibility and lowers the risk of injury. Stretching and warming up are important to maintain muscle flexibility over time.
If weight lifting is important to you, but you fear injury to the ankles, consider wearing orthotics or shoes that fit comfortably and provide adequate arch support for the feet. Lift weights only two or three times a week, and break up your workouts over a period of several days. You can avoid injury and overtraining by resting for a few days in between workouts, or performing some other type of exercise every other day.
Listen to Your Body
Overall, it’s important to pay close attention to what your body is telling you at all times. If you notice foot or ankle pain, rest the joint until you feel comfortable working it again. If you fear your injury is more serious, seek the help of a medical professional. Many injuries can be corrected if they are caught early enough, but some can be devastating if they aren’t treated quickly.