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Years ago I tripped in a hole and got a 3rd degree ankle sprain. One of the exercises the physiotherapist told me was to use a bosu ball and do circles with while standing with both feet on it. I think I stopped my recovery exercises to early and am trying to strengthen my ankle. I've been using the bosu ball but find it too hard to to do circles. I always slip off. Is there any tips to make it easier.

For example is it easier or hard to have feet spaced far apart? What are other exercises I can do to strengthen my ankle with a bosu ball?

EDIT: thanks for the feed back. I forgot to mention I had been doing it with no shoes and my socks slide against the slick surface of the bosu ball. Should I be doing it with or without shoes?

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The less layers between your feet and the unstable surface, the better your proprioception (and hence, balance). So, ideally, no shoes and no socks. –  VPeric Mar 4 '13 at 23:03

2 Answers 2

The main reason for using a bosu ball is to increase the number of muscles and muscle fibers recruited for the activity, and to increase the proprioception. I had to use the Bosu quite extensively for my Achilles rupture rehab, and here's a few the exercises that I was doing (My PT guys were creative sadists, but they were good.):

  1. Chop squats - Put the round side down, stand both feet on the flat. Take a medicine ball and "chop" (Much like a cable pull) from high to low, left to right and squat at the same time the ball comes down. Repeat going the other way for one repetition.
  2. One legged deadlift - Done with a swiss ball, stand on the rounded side, foot in the center. Holding the ball out in front of you, lean until it touches, then stand back up.
  3. Side touches - Standing on one foot on the ball side (not on the flat), stick your leg out to the side, squat until the toes touch, then back up.
  4. Net toss - Requires a large net that you can use to "throw" the ball back to you. (See picture below) : stand on bosu flat side, throw medicine balls into the net and catch coming back.

Other exercises that I did that would also help:

  1. Medicine ball slams - Stand with both feet together. Take a medicine ball and slam it into the floor on the right side of your body. Catch it on the way up, immediately rotate and slam it into the floor on the left side. 30 seconds of this x 3.
  2. Plate drags - Put a 35 or 45 plate flat on floor. Hook lip of plate with toes, and walk on hands forward 20-25 feet then backwards, pulling/pushing plate.
  3. Windmills - Take a 5-10 lb dumbbell in each hand. Stand on one foot, slightly leaning over. One dumbbell at shoulder height to side, other in front. Lift the one in front out to the side, at the same time you bring the other down in front of you. 20 reps, then switch feet.

All of these are designed to increase both the strength in the area, and the proprioceptive feedback. enter image description here

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The Bosu can be used on both sides - standing on the rounded blue side or the flat black side. Both sides provide an "unstable" surface that makes your ankle muscles adjust to control your movements and stability of the ankle.

  • Progressing from Sitting to Unsupported Standing

    This video shows a progression of ankle exercises beginning in sitting, advancing to supported standing and then unsupported standing. The demo is on a wobble board, but a Bosu works similarly. The video shows using a chair for support, but you can also use a dowel to give you support.

    As you progress, you should be able to accomplish ankle circles standing on the Bosu without support. These next two videos are specific to ankle rehab (after your therapist has cleared you to do so). 1. Ankle circles on both sides of the Bosu, 2. Adding motions - side to side and forward back.

  • Proprioceptive Training in Standing

    Here is a video of closed kinetic chain exercises that will strengthen your ankle making it more stable and responsive to movements in all planes of motion. Once you can do these on a stable floor, you can do these on a Bosu for added proprioception training.

As to the position of your foot, the closer to the middle of the ball, the more stability you should have assuming you do not have other balance problems. The farther away from the middle, the more range of motion your ankle will require putting more stress on your ankle. If you have limited motion, you may not be able to tolerate the outer limits. Hope that helps.

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