If you have weak or brittle bones, then you may be the victim of fractures, strains or sprains in your ankles. It’s more common than you might think, in fact; osteoporosis affects about 44 million people living in the United States and is the cause of about 2 million bone fractures annually. If you suffer from severe pain in your ankles due to injury then you may want to consider surgery as an option. If your injuries tend to be minor and not overly painful then there are many things you can do to increase your overall bone strength. Here is a guide to get you started.
There is no better time than now to start strengthening your bones. The earlier and younger you start, the better off you are. Bones tend to reach their peak in your 20’s, so it’s essential to continue caring for them by getting plenty of calcium, vitamin D and exercise. Consider your bones like a retirement fund. You need to continually be adding to it so that you can draw from it when you are older.
Drink Your Milk
One of the best things you can do for strong bones is to remember to drink your milk. Aim for about four glasses a day to reach the recommended amount of 1,200 mg of calcium. In fact, calcium has been said to be the foundation for stronger and healthier bones. Milk is also full of vitamin D, which can help rebuild and repair damaged bones while also keeping your muscles in tip-top shape. Those four glasses of milk contain about 1,000 IU of vitamin D.
If you can’t stand drinking milk, then consider getting your calcium and vitamin D through other ways. Roughly three cups of nonfat yogurt provide the same nutritional value as 4 cups of milk. Or if you are lactose intolerant then you may want to try calcium and vitamin D fortified orange juice, or non-dairy milks like almond, soy or coconut. Supplements may also be required to reach your daily allotment of calcium and vitamin D.
Exercise and Stay Active
Any activity that is weight-bearing, meaning that you are working against gravity forcefully, can strengthen your bones. These exercises stimulate osteoblasts, which are bone-building cells. Some of the exercises that can strengthen bones the fastest are higher impact ones like running, basketball, tennis and kickboxing. While these exercises will strengthen bones quicker, they can also be tricky if you have weak bones or ankles. Stick to simple exercises like walking or basic vertical jumps that will be safer.
Building muscle can also build bone strength. Consider doing simple, repetitive movements like lifting light weights, using a resistance band or attending yoga instructions. Many of these exercises can even be done in your own home and the benefits to your overall bone strength and health are huge.
Speak with your doctor before beginning any treatment or exercise program, especially if you have injured ankles or weak bones. You don’t want to further injure the area.