Ankle Strengthening Exercises for Your Fitness Routine

Ankles are weight-bearing joints that help you perform tons of movements. Its bones, tendons, and ligaments work together to carry the weight of your body and allow you to move. By incorporating ankle strengthening exercises into your fitness routine, you can improve your everyday life.

What Causes Weak Ankles?

Causes of weak ankles range from injuries to certain conditions. The most common include:

  • Ankle injuries, such as sprains and strains, fractures, and dislocations.
  • Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI), a condition in which the ankle continually gives way and turns to the side. This often develops after several ankle sprains.
  • Diabetes, because this could lead to diabetic peripheral neuropathy and cause muscle weakness in the ankle and loss of balance.
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD), in which the posterior tibial tendon changes, causing the arch of the foot to collapse. This condition, also known as adult acquired flatfoot, is usually caused by overuse.
  • Osteoarthritis (OA), the breakdown and loss of cartilage in joints. This is also known as degenerative arthritis and is the most common form of arthritis.
  • Wearing incorrect footwear, such as those that are too short, long, narrow, or wide, or do not have enough support.

The Benefits of Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Doing exercises that strengthen your ankles has its benefits. Strengthening the muscles around the ankles prevents injuries, leads to a quicker recovery, reduces pain, increases flexibility, improves balance, and improves bone density, which reduces the risk of degenerative bone diseases.

Good Ankle Strengthening Exercises

The list of exercises below may help to improve the mobility and strength of your ankles. These can be done from the comfort of home. There’s no need for special fitness equipment here!

Towel Stretch

Maintain or improve flexibility in your calf muscles and Achilles tendon with the towel stretch.

  1. Sit on the bed or floor with both legs straight out in front.
  2. Wrap the towel around the ball of your foot, which is just beneath the toes.
  3. While keeping your knees straight, pull on the towel and let your foot angle toward you.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and then slowly release.
  5. Repeat 3 to 5 times on each leg.

Towel Curl

Doing towel curls will increase your flexibility and improve your balance.

  1. Place the towel flat on the floor. Stand or sit on a chair with your heels directly under your knees and one foot on the towel.
  2. While keeping the heel firmly on the ground, use the toes to grip the towel and pull it toward yourself.
  3. You may have to stop after a few reps to smooth out the towel.
  4. To make it more challenging, weigh down the other end of the towel with a small object.
  5. Repeat 5 times on each foot.

Golf Ball Roll

With the golf ball roll, you can strengthen and stretch the ligaments on the bottom of your feet.

  1. Sit on a chair and place a golf ball under one of your feet.
  2. Roll your foot slowly back and forth over the ball for one minute.
  3. Repeat with the other foot.

Ankle Alphabet

Improve your range of motion and strengthen your ankle muscles with the ankle alphabet.

  1. Stand next to a sturdy chair for support or lay on your back.
  2. Lift one leg and use the big toe to draw every letter of the alphabet in the air.
  3. Repeat with the other foot.

Calf Raise

While calf raises strengthen your calves, they also give ankle joint muscles a workout.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. You can hold onto a table or counter for balance.
  2. Slowly raise the heels so that you’re standing on your toes, and then slowly lower the heels back down so they’re on the ground.
  3. Repeat 20 times.

Heel Walk

By performing heel walks, you can work the muscles that support the front of the ankle.

  1. While standing, lift the front of your feet. That way, you’re standing on your heels as you walk.
  2. Take 20 small steps forward.
  3. Turn around and repeat.

Consult a Podiatrist at The Foot & Ankle Center

If you’re experiencing pain in your foot or ankle, be sure to have a consult with one of the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center. While these exercises are great for building up strength, our doctors have the ability to pinpoint the source of your pain and recommend treatment. Request an appointment today!