Flex and stretch
To support your ankles, pay attention to the whole length of your legs, including your knees and leg muscles. You can exercise your ankles and the rest of your legs by alternately flexing and stretching. Once a day, lie on your back, reaching your legs upwards, and then flex your muscles and stretch repeatedly. Complete 10 sets of stretches, holding each time for at least three seconds. When your leg muscles and joints function together, you reduce your risk of suffering sprains
Always prepare before exercising
Exercise or other vigorous activity can strain your muscles and joints, so it’s important to get plenty of blood flowing through the joint muscles surrounding your ankle.
Stretch, flex, rotate your ankles around, and do some raises before you go out for a walk or run or before you engage in athletic or other strenuous activities
Work with your Doctor and your Therapist
While most people can do these exercises safely, we recommend talking to your doctor before beginning any exercise program — especially if you’re carrying extra weight. Having obesity (BMI >25) can lead to weak ankles. That’s because the more weight you’re carrying, the more stress you’re placing on your hips, knees and ankles.
Weak ankles could also be a sign of other medical issues that require a doctor’s attention. For instance, if you have significant balance issues, it might not be because you have weak ankles — it could be a signal of a neurological disorder. Our Neuro Physiotherapist is on hand to help in these circumstances.
So, if you any doubt get checked out first, but once you’re good to start take time for these exercises every day. Incorporating them into your routine can help you maintain good balance, stability and posture for the long term.
Exercises to help strengthen your ankles.
1. Work your ankle’s full range of motion:
There are two exercises to help achieve this.
(i) Ankle circles: Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Lift one foot off the ground and slowly rotate your ankle clockwise for 10 to 15 repetitions, then anti-clockwise for another 10 to 15 repetitions. Repeat with the other foot.
(ii) Use your feet to write the alphabet from A to Z. Sit on the ground and bend your legs in front of you, crossing one over the other. Then, use one foot to write each letter of the alphabet.
2. Resistance band exercises:
Place a resistance band around your foot and hold the other end with your hand. We can advise which colour band you should use. Point your toes forward and then pull your toes back towards your shin. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions on each foot.
3. Improve your Control and balance:
You can also help improve your muscle control and balance through calf and shin raises
(i) For calf raises, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your heels off the ground as high as you can. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your heels back down. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.
(ii) For shin raises, slowly lift up your toes, until you are standing on your heels. As you perform these exercises, make sure you don’t let your ankles roll outwards as that may increase your risk of injury and decrease the effectiveness of the exercise.
4. Balance exercises:
Stand on one foot and hold the position for as long as you can, then switch to the other foot. You can also try standing on a balance board or a wobble cushion to challenge your balance.
5. Heel drops:
Stand on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off the edge. Slowly lower your heels down as far as you can, then raise them back up. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.
6. Ankle Hopping:
If you are actively mobile and enjoy regular walking or running your ankle will benefit from this more dynamic exercise.
Hopping forward while staying on your toes. If you aren’t steady, you can hold onto the back of a chair or something more stable like a work surface. Repeat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You can also bounce from side to side, front to back or in a square. This will add some variation and also a bit of a cardio workout! Hill work is also great.