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Ankle Strength Exercises

Dr. Anuradha Sharma 91% (16115 ratings)
MPT - Orthopedic Physiotherapy, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Noida  •  10 years experience
Ankle Strength Exercises

As soon as it doesn’t hurt too much to put pressure on the ball of your foot, start stretching your ankle using the towel stretch. When this stretch is easy, try the other exercises. Towel stretch: sit on a hard surface with your injured leg stretched out in front of you. Loop a towel around your toes and the ball of your foot and pull the towel toward your body keeping your leg straight. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat 3 times. Standing calf stretch: stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Keep your injured leg back with your heel on the floor. Keep the other leg forward with the knee bent. Turn your back foot slightly inward (as if you were pigeon-toed)

 Slowly lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times. Do this exercise several times each day. Standing soleus stretch: stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about chest height. Keep your injured leg back with your heel on the floor. Keep the other leg forward with the knee bent. Turn your back foot slightly inward (as if you were pigeon-toed). Bend your back knee slightly and gently lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the lower calf of your injured leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times.

Ankle range of motion: sit or lie down with your legs straight and your knees pointing toward the ceiling. Point your toes on your injured side toward your nose, then away from your body. Point your toes in toward your other foot and then out away from your other foot. Finally, move the top of your foot in circles. Move only your foot and ankle. Don't move your leg. Repeat 10 times in each direction. Push hard in all directions.

Resisted ankle dorsiflexion: tie a knot in one end of the elastic tubing and shut the knot in a door. Tie a loop in the other end of the tubing and put the foot on your injured side through the loop so that the tubing goes around the top of the foot. Sit facing the door with your injured leg straight out in front of you. Move away from the door until there is tension in the tubing. Keeping your leg straight, pull the top of your foot toward your body, stretching the tubing. Slowly return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15. Resisted ankle plantar flexion: sit with your injured leg stretched out in front of you. Loop the tubing around the ball of your foot. Hold the ends of the tubing with both hands. Gently press the ball of your foot down and point your toes, stretching the tubing.

Return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15. Resisted ankle inversion: sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Cross the ankle of your uninjured leg over your other ankle. Wrap elastic tubing around the ball of the foot of your injured leg and then loop it around your other foot so that the tubing is anchored there at one end. Hold the other end of the tubing in your hand. Turn the foot of your injured leg inward and upward. This will stretch the tubing. Return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15.

Resisted ankle eversion: sit with both legs stretched out in front of you, with your feet about a shoulder's width apart. Tie a loop in one end of elastic tubing. Put the foot of your injured leg through the loop so that the tubing goes around the arch of that foot and wraps around the outside of the other foot. Hold onto the other end of the tubing with your hand to provide tension. Turn the foot of your injured leg up and out. Make sure you keep your other foot still so that it will allow the tubing to stretch as you move the foot of your injured leg. Return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15.

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