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Can ankle and foot ligaments be strengthened?

Posted by Ellen J. on 5/05/03 at 16:20 (117841)

I have read some articles that talk about strengthening ankle ligaments to help stabilize the ankle. I am confused about this, as I thought that a ligament cannot be strengthened like a muscle can. Supposedly using wobble boards and other balancing exercises help make the ligaments stronger, but how? Does the tissue itself actually change? Some articles mentioned that strengthening the ligaments in the feet will stabilize the feet also. I'm very curious about this but am skeptical until I know that a ligament can actually be 'exercised' into becoming stronger.
Ellen J.

Re: Can ankle and foot ligaments be strengthened?

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/05/03 at 20:48 (117863)

Ellen:
Most exercises for lateral ankle instability center around two goals:
1)Strengthen the peroneal tendons. Peroneus longus and peroneus brevis are the muscles on the outside of the ankle and are involved in reducing ankle sprains.
2)Proprioception training. This involves the enhancement of 'refexes' about the ankle such that one can 'right' the ankle more quickly before it has a chance to turn over and sprain.
The exercises have no direct effect on the ankle ligaments.
Ed

Re: Can ankle and foot ligaments be strengthened?

Ellen J. on 5/06/03 at 13:02 (117918)

Hi Ed,
Thanks for your reply. It sounds like tendons can be strengthened but not ligaments (wherever those ligaments happen to be)?
I'll research the peroneus longus and brevis exercises. I think those muscles are used when doing Foot Trainer exercises, which I'm doing--and enjoying!
Thanks again,
Ellen J.