Aquatic Exercise for Ankles

Water provides buoyancy and natural resistance to assist with exercises.
i Jupiterimages/ Images

Whether you're recovering from an ankle injury or just trying to strengthen your ankles, the pool provides an alternative to traditional exercises. Aquatic exercises combine the water’s buoyancy with the increased resistance the water provides. The water supports much of your body weight. This reduces the stress on joints, such as your ankles, and allows for a full range of motion. Before beginning any new exercise program, consult with your physician.

    Step 1

    Sit on the step of the pool or lean against the side. Extend your left leg out in front of you, keeping your knee slightly bent. In a clockwise rotation, make circles in the water with your left foot. Repeat 10 times. Repeat these steps with your right foot. This exercise is the same as the one performed outside of water, however, the resistance from the water increases the strengthening results. To further increase the range of motion, try writing letters with your foot.

    Step 2

    Stand in the shallow end of the pool. While standing in place, raise your right foot up so you are on your toes. At the same time, roll your left foot back so your weight is on your heel. Slowly rock back and forth while alternating positions. Continue this movement for two to three minutes. This focuses on the ankle’s range of motion.

    Step 3

    Perform basic range of motion movements. Sit on the step of the pool or lean up against the wall. Lift your left leg in front of you. Slowly move your foot up and down as if you were pushing and releasing a pedal. Next, move your foot in a side-to-side pattern. Repeat for five to 10 repetitions. Repeat these steps with your right foot.

    Step 4

    Place sinking dive rings or other small objects in the shallow section of the pool. Make sure they are relatively thin. Curl your toes and try to pick up or move the object under water. Do not move your heel. This exercise targets your ankle’s range of motion.


    • Stop exercising if you experience pain. You should feel stretching but not pain.

    Things You'll Need

    • Pool access

    • Diving rings

the nest