Ankle Strengthening Exercises

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Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Page ContentFollowing an ankle sprain, strengthening exercises should be performed once you can bear weight comfortably and your range of motion is near full. There are several types of strengthening exercises. The easiest to begin with are isometric exercises that you do by pushing against a fixed object with your ankle. Once this has been mastered, you can progress to isotonic exercises, which involve using your ankle’s range of motion against some form of resistance. The photos below show isotonic exercises performed with a resistance band, which you can get from your local therapist or a sporting goods store.    Place your ankle in the “down and in” position against a fixed object such as a couch.  Hold this position for a count of 10.  Repeat 10 times.              Place your ankle in the “up and out” position against the same object.  Hold this position for a count of 10.  Repeat 10 times.               Push your ankle down against a fixed object and hold for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times.     Push your ankle up against a fixed object and hold for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times.      Using a resistance band around your forefoot, hold the ends of the band with your hand  and gently push your ankle down as far as you can and then back to the starting position.  Repeat 10 times.              Tie the resistance bands around a fixed object and wrap the ends around your forefoot.  Start with your foot pointing down and pull your ankle up as far as you can.  Return to the starting position and cycle your ankle 10 times.              Tie the bands around an object to the outer side of your ankle.  Start with the foot relaxed and then move your ankle down and in.  Return to the relaxed position and repeat 10 times.                    Tie the ends of the bands around an object to the inside of your ankle and hold your foot relaxed.  Bring your foot up and out and then back to the resting position.  Repeat 10 times.               Once you have regained the motion and strength in your ankle, you are ready for sporting activities such as gentle jogging and biking. After you feel your ankle strength is approximately 80% of your other side, then you can begin cutting or twisting sports. Proprioceptive Exercises for Balance, Coordination and Agility  Stand with your affected leg on a pillow.  Hold this position for a count of 10.  Repeat 10 times.                  Stand on your affected leg with the resistance band applied to your unaffected leg.  Bring your unaffected leg forward and then back to the starting position.  Repeat 10 times.  Start slowly and progress to a faster speed for a more difficult workout.              Again, start slowly and increase your speed at your own pace, moving the unaffected leg forward and then back to the starting position.                      For a more advanced exercise, swing your unaffected leg behind you and then back.                  Additional Resources How to Care for a Sprained Ankle How to Stretch Your Ankle After a Sprain​    The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the “Find an Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon” tool at the top of this page or contact your primary doctor.
ankle strengthening exercises 1

Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Following an ankle sprain, strengthening exercises should be performed once you can bear weight comfortably and your range of motion is near full. There are several types of strengthening exercises. The easiest to begin with are isometric exercises that you do by pushing against a fixed object with your ankle. Once this has been mastered, you can progress to isotonic exercises, which involve using your ankle’s range of motion against some form of resistance. The photos below show isotonic exercises performed with a resistance band, which you can get from your local therapist or a sporting goods store.    Place your ankle in the “down and in” position against a fixed object such as a couch.  Hold this position for a count of 10.  Repeat 10 times.              Place your ankle in the “up and out” position against the same object.  Hold this position for a count of 10.  Repeat 10 times.               Push your ankle down against a fixed object and hold for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times.     Push your ankle up against a fixed object and hold for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times.      Using a resistance band around your forefoot, hold the ends of the band with your hand  and gently push your ankle down as far as you can and then back to the starting position.  Repeat 10 times.              Tie the resistance bands around a fixed object and wrap the ends around your forefoot.  Start with your foot pointing down and pull your ankle up as far as you can.  Return to the starting position and cycle your ankle 10 times.              Tie the bands around an object to the outer side of your ankle.  Start with the foot relaxed and then move your ankle down and in.  Return to the relaxed position and repeat 10 times.                    Tie the ends of the bands around an object to the inside of your ankle and hold your foot relaxed.  Bring your foot up and out and then back to the resting position.  Repeat 10 times.               Once you have regained the motion and strength in your ankle, you are ready for sporting activities such as gentle jogging and biking. After you feel your ankle strength is approximately 80% of your other side, then you can begin cutting or twisting sports. Proprioceptive Exercises for Balance, Coordination and Agility  Stand with your affected leg on a pillow.  Hold this position for a count of 10.  Repeat 10 times.                  Stand on your affected leg with the resistance band applied to your unaffected leg.  Bring your unaffected leg forward and then back to the starting position.  Repeat 10 times.  Start slowly and progress to a faster speed for a more difficult workout.              Again, start slowly and increase your speed at your own pace, moving the unaffected leg forward and then back to the starting position.                      For a more advanced exercise, swing your unaffected leg behind you and then back.                  Additional Resources How to Care for a Sprained Ankle How to Stretch Your Ankle After a Sprain​    The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the “Find an Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon” tool at the top of this page or contact your primary doctor.
ankle strengthening exercises 2

Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises Ankle strengthening exercises can begin as soon as pain allows. In the early stages of strengthening any exercises which involve sideways movements at the ankle you should avoided. Resisted plantar flexion Loop a resistance band around the forefoot and hold onto the ends. Point the foot away slowly allowing it to return to a resting position. Aim for 10-20 reps and 3 sets with a short rest in between. Once this exercise feels easy, you can increase the strength of the resistance band or progress on to full calf raise exercises. This exercise can be repeated with a bent knee to target the soleus muscle lower down the calf area. Play resistance band plantar flexion video Resisted dorsiflexion Using a rehabilitation band pull the foot and toes up against resistance and then down again. Aim for 10 to 20 repetitions and 3 sets with a short rest in between. This is an important strengthening exercise, however it is important not to over do this one. Remember you will still have to walk on the ankle after the strengthen session so do not take the ankle to fatigue. Over time this may also lead to pain in the front of the shin – less is probably more with this exercise. Play resistance band dorsi flexion video Isometric eversion and inversion Once you can do so pain free, try exercises involving eversion and inversion to help strengthen the muscles which help to control the ‘rolling’ action at the ankle. Isometric means there is no movement at the joint throughout the exercise. A partner or therapist can provide resistance with the hands, or use a wall or chair leg. For eversion the athlete should try turning the ankle out against resistance. For inversion, inwards against resistance. Hold for 5 seconds, rest for 3 seconds and repeat initially 3 times and gradually increase up to 10 times. As strength improves, this can be extended using a partner or therapist into a more dynamic action of the therapist moving their hands against the ankle which much react to prevent it moving. Play isometric inversion and inversion video Resisted eccentric inversion This exercise is particularly important in helping to prevent injury recurring. The athlete attempts to resist the therapist everting or turning the foot outwards. It strengthens the muscles which stabilize the ankle just at the point where it would roll over or sprain. A therapist or partner is needed for this exercise to be done effectively. They should not apply too much resistance initially but gradually build up. Play resisted eccentric inversion video Calf raise This exercise will strengthen the calf muscles which consist of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Rise up and down on the toes in a smooth movement. You should be able to progress quite quickly with this one but aim for 3 sets of 10 and build up steadily, a few each day. Once you find this quite easy, start performing the exercise on one leg only. This will feel a lot harder, so start with low reps again and gradually increase. You can also perform these on a step as shown in the video, allowing the heel to drop down past the level of the step. Play calf raise exercise video. Prioprioception exercises Ensure the area you are working in is safe and free from obstacles that you could knock into. Initially perform these exercises once a day and then increase to twice a day when you are confident. Do not start exercises until pain free walking. If you experience any pain whilst performing the exercise, stop immediately. 1. Standing on one leg eyes open with arms out Clear an area without obstacles. Stand one one leg on a flat surface with bare feet and arms out to the side. Balance for as long as possible. Record how long you balanced for without putting the other leg down. Repeat 5 times for each leg. Play balance exercise video 2. Standing on one leg eyes open and arms by your side As exercise 1 but keep your arms down by your side. If you feel you are losing balance, either open your eyes or put the other foot down. Record how long you balanced for. 3. Standing on one leg eyes closed As exercise 1 but keep your eyes closed during the exercise. If you feel you are losing balance, either open your eyes or put the other foot down. Record how long you balanced for. 4. Standing on an unstable surface (such as a folded towel or cushion) As exercise 1 above but stand on the cushion or folded towel and keep your eyes open during the exercise. If you feel you are losing balance, either open your eyes or put the other foot down. Record how long you balanced for. The following exercises (5 and 6) should only be attempted if all of the swelling has disappeared post injury and you are pain free on walking. 5. Hopping Draw a line on the floor with tape and stand one side of the line on one foot Hop from one side of the line to the other and back again. On landing, stay balancing on one leg for 2 seconds before hopping again Repeat 20 times for each leg. 6. Figure 8 Hopping Draw a cross on the floor with tape. Stand in one corner and hop diagonally to opposite corner. Then hop sideways to the next corner. Then hop diagonally backwards to the opposite corner. Then hop sideways back to the starting position. Repeat 5 times for each leg Functional exercises Functional exercises start to load the ankle in a more sports specific way with more explosive type movements, direction changes and lateral or sideways movements. Lunges Although mainly a knee exercise, lunges can be used to improve the balance and strength at the ankle joint. Stand with the injured foot in front of the other, toes facing forwards. Bend the back knee down towards the floor, keeping the back upright. Stop just before the knee touches the ground and push yourself back up again. Start with a low number of reps, such as 2 sets of 10 and gradually increase. This exercise can be made more difficult by performing walking lunges where you move forwards from one lunge to the next. Play lunge exercise video Heel toe walk The walking calf raise will strengthen both the calf muscles and improve balance at the ankle. Put one foot in front and raise up on to the tip toes. Swing the back leg forwards and raise up on to the toes again. Repeat this walking across the room. Play heel to walk exercise video Step back  Start standing on a small step. Take one leg backwards, touch the foot on the floor and push off with the forefoot to move it back onto the step. Alternate legs. This can be increased in difficulty by performing on a higher step or at a faster speed. Play step back exercise video Hopping Many variations on hopping exercises are available. Start with a small hop on the spot and gradually increase the height jumped. Try hopping to the front, to the side and backwards. Try hopping from one leg and landing on the other. Equipment such as hoops, agility ladders and minim hurdles can all be used to add further challenge. Play hopping drills video Resistance band jump A resistance band is wrapped around the waist and anchored or held behind the athlete. They then perform side to side or forwards and backward jumps. The resistance from the band provides a challenge to the balance. The exercise can be made more difficult by increasing the thickness of the band, or aiming to hop or jump further. Play resistance band jump video Box jumps Numerous exercises can be created using a box or step to jump over. To start the athlete may jump sideways over the box, moving rapidly from one foot on one side, to the other foot on the other side. This may also be performed front to back. A further progression is high jumps over the box, firstly landing on two feet and progressing to one. Play box jump video Sports specific drills Practice drills that are used in training for your particular sport. Start off doing them slowly and under control. Gradually pick up the pace and competition level until you’re back to full training mode. Play agility drills video

Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Ankle Strengthening Exercises
Ankle Strengthening Exercises
Ankle Strengthening Exercises

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