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The question

When running, I often roll over on my ankles. I do lunges, squats and planks, so my legs and core are fairly strong. What else can I do to help stabilize my ankles?

The answer

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Pronation of the ankle is common in runners. To run injury-free, your feet and ankles need a delicate balance of strength and flexibility.

A flexible foot can adapt to changes in running surfaces. A strong foot will be better able to remain stable when running on unpredictable surfaces. And any deficit in strength or flexibility can cause ankle instability.

I suggest that you add exercises that directly target the muscles of the foot, ankle and lower leg into your strength training routine.

Try standing barefoot on one leg for 30 seconds. Once that is easy, try it with your eyes closed.

Also, try what I call exaggerated slow walks. From a standing start, place the heel of your right foot in front of you. Then roll slowly forward on the right foot until you come up onto your toes. Simultaneously lift your left leg off the ground. Balance on your right tiptoes for two seconds and then repeat on left foot. Continue alternating across the floor for 12 reps.

Do flexibility and mobility exercises after every run.

Standing calf stretch: Stand on a stair facing upstairs and place the toes of one foot on the edge of the stair. Keep that same leg straight and let the heel fall toward the ground. Repeat with other foot.

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Ankle rotations: Lift one leg and rotate the lifted ankle 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counter clockwise. Repeat other leg.

Lastly, have someone asses your lower-body biomechanics. You may have muscular imbalances that are causing your ankles to roll.

Trainer's tip

Try walking around your house barefoot. It is an easy way to strengthen feet and ankles.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your fitness questions at trainer@globeandmail.com.

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