Simple Ankle Exercises to Prevent Injury

July 16, 2019 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

Weak ankles can contribute to a range of health issues due to poor arch support. These issues can trigger painful episodes in the feet and legs, lead to arthritis, cause frequent trips and falls, or sprains and fractures.

Our foot doctor in Raleigh tries to raise the public’s awareness of the health risks caused by weak ankles. This is because a person with weak ankles can be prone to physical injuries that make performing simple daily tasks like walking, running, or jumping a lot more challenging. 

Whether you’re doing low or high-intensity movements, you are placing stress on and around your feet, and it’s your ankles that bear most of this stress. Did you know that 40 percent of injuries among athletes involve the ankles? Our orthopedic foot doctor in Raleigh has dealt with many sports-related ankle injuries. Some of these are severe enough that they significantly affect the athlete’s career.

Ankle weakness is more common than you think. However, this condition can be corrected with the right exercises to strengthen this part of the body. Qualified foot surgeons in Raleigh recommend the following exercises to strengthen your ankles. When these exercises are regularly done, the muscles, bones, and ligaments in the ankles become more stable.

Ankle Alphabet

This is a range-of-motion exercise, which you can do while watching TV, or sitting at your desk, according to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. It’s a simple process where you just have to trace the alphabet with your toes to encourage movement in your ankles from any direction. Do this at least three times a day. It will take less than three minutes to complete.

Ankle Circles

You may do this exercise in the privacy of your bedroom or office. Lie down on your back and then slowly bend your legs close to your chest. Next, slightly raise one leg in the air and point your toes across like a ballerina. Slowly rotate the foot of the raised leg clockwise and counterclockwise. Try not to move your leg as you do the circles and feel your hamstring getting tighter.

Calf Raises

Improve the strength of your calf with this exercise. It will enable you to control your body better when shifting weight. To do this, stand up with your legs apart. Slowly lift your heels as you put your weight on your toes. Ensure that your ankle is in a neutral position for good balance. 

Single-leg Balance

As a variation to the calf raises, you may do a single-leg calf raise alternately, per the American Council of Exercise. To do this, hold your leg up with the knees slightly bent for 20 to 30 seconds. If you feel your legs shaking this is actually good for your muscles. In due time when you’ve mastered your balance, the shaking will be minimized. 

Shin Raises

Shin raises are similar to calf raises, however, it’s the toes you have to raise instead of the heels for this exercise routine. Keep doing this to master good control of your feet and legs and avoid rolling in your ankles and toes. 

Towel Pulls

Place one barefoot on a towel and try to grab or pick this up with your toes. Lift your heel when you’re pulling the towel and repeat the process until you feel some soreness around your feet. This means that the muscles are activating and working. Alternate with the other foot.

When you’re feeling your ankles getting stronger, try to incorporate sport-specific ankle exercises such as hopping, lateral leaps, squats, and lower-body exercises. If you are not sure how to perform these exercises, you can always ask our foot doctor in Raleigh for help.

What to do if you sustain an ankle injury?

Visit our orthopedic foot doctor if the following signs and symptoms are present:

  • Severe, persistent pain
  • Limited range of motion in the affected ankle
  • Swelling that doesn’t subside
  • Ankle instability
  • Obvious deformity

If the injury is severe, your doctor might recommend surgery. We have highly qualified foot surgeons in Raleigh and a team of compassionate and skilled healthcare professionals to help you get better. Request an appointment or Contact Us for inquiries.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.