Your ankles withstand as much as three times your body weight from the impact when your foot hits the ground every day, according to Baptist Hospital East. This makes it not surprising that you ankle joint is considered one of the most vulnerable. Don’t let an ankle injury happen to you -- prevent injury by engaging in regular exercises that strengthen the ankle and promote flexibility.
Although ankle circles may seem like a simple exercise, they help to maintain flexibility in your ankle joint. Place your feet on the ground and lift the upper portion of your foot off the ground, leaving only your heel touching the ground. Slowly circle your foot in a clockwise motion for 10 repetitions, then reverse the motion and repeat 10 times. You can perform this exercise using both feet at once or just using one foot at a time.
This exercise requires a hand towel to perform and helps to strengthen range of motion and encourage ankle flexibility. Sit in a chair and place a towel on the floor in front of you. Place a shoeless foot on the towel and use your ankle joint to make your foot into a “scoop” that moves the towel toward the inside of your opposite foot. Keep scooping the towel with your foot until it is completely bunched up. Straighten the towel and repeat on the opposite side.
The toe tap exercise builds flexibility in your ankles and strength in your calf muscles. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your toes and balls of your feet off the ground, leaving only your heels on the floor. Flex the foot as much as possible, then return your foot to its starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times, rest and perform an additional set. You can change the pace of the repetitions as a way to change up the exercise.
Exercise Band Inversion/Eversion
This exercise requires an exercise band to strengthen the ankle. Tie an exercise band around a heavy object, such as a couch or heavy chair. With your left side closest to the object, loop an end of the band around your right foot and rotate the foot to your right, working your ankle. You can perform this exercise while seated or standing if you have something to hold onto for balance. Repeat on the left foot. You also can loop the band around the inside of your foot to work the opposite side of your ankle.
This ankle-strengthening exercise can be performed almost anywhere, including at your desk at work. Sit with your heel on the floor, toes lifted in the air and imagine your toes are a pen drawing letters of the alphabet. Once you make it to “Z,” perform the exercise on the opposite foot.
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