Located along the outside of your lower leg, your peroneal muscles evert, or turn the foot, outward and assist with plantar flexion, or pointing of the foot. They also play a critical role in stabilizing the ankle. If these muscles are weak, you might be particularly susceptible to ankle injury. Beef up your ankle stability and protect yourself from injury by keeping your peroneals strong and supple.
Perform isometric exercises against a stationary object, such as a wall or piece of furniture. Stand with your right foot adjacent to the object, lift your toes upward and outward and press the outside of the foot firmly into the object. Hold the position for up to 10 seconds if you can do so comfortably, relax the foot briefly, then repeat the exercise 10 times before continuing with your left foot.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your feet flexed. Loop a resistance band around the balls of your feet and slide your legs apart to eliminate slack. Slowly rotate your toes outward against the band. Hold briefly, release, then repeat the exercise 10 to 20 times for a total of three sets.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet resting on the floor in front of you. Slowly raise your hips off the floor. Maintaining the bridge position, raise your heels as high as possible, hold briefly, then lower the heels to the floor. Repeat 10 to 20 times for a total of three sets. For greater intensity, work one leg at a time, placing the non-working foot alongside the working ankle.
Stand on a step and place two fingertips on a nearby handrail for light support. Allow your heels to extend beyond the edge of the step. Tighten your stomach muscles and slowly rise onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels as high as possible. Hold briefly, lower your heels beyond the level of the step, then repeat the calf raises 10 to 20 times for a total of three sets. For added intensity, work one leg at a time or hold a hand weight in your free hand.
Stand with your feet together and roll your feet outward, lifting your inner arches off the floor. Walk on the outsides of your feet for up to 30 seconds. Take a 30-second break, then repeat for a total of three sets.
Work with a wobble board. Stand on the board and rotate it in a clockwise direction, keeping the edge of the board in constant contact with the floor. Complete 30 clockwise rotations, rest briefly, then repeat in a counterclockwise direction. To intensify the exercise, work one foot at a time.
- The Concise Book of Muscles, Revised Edition; Chris Jarmey
- Journal of Athletic Training: Factors Contributing to Chronic Ankle Instability -- A Strength Perspective
- Shore Foot and Ankle: Phase I Ankle Rehabilitation
- Runner's World: Supporting Act -- Six Underappreciated Muscles
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Management of Ankle Sprains
- Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas: Six Simple Exercises For Stronger Strides
- Summit Medical Group: Peroneal Tendon Strain Rehabilitation Exercises
- Warm up with 10 minutes of general physical activity, such as brisk walking, before working your peroneals.
- Wear athletic shoes for maximum support and stability.
- Always work in a slow, controlled manner and breathe normally throughout every exercise.
- After working your peroneals, stretch them. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and wrap a resistance band around the ball of one foot. Gently pull on the ends of the band, drawing the outside of the foot toward your body's midline. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other foot.
- Check your resistance band for tears before using it.
- If you've suffered from an ankle injury in the past, speak to your doctor about the advisability of specific exercises.
Judy Fisk has been writing professionally since 2011, specializing in fitness, recreation, culture and the arts. A certified fitness instructor with decades of dance training, she has taught older adults, teens and kids. She has written educational and fundraising material for several non-profit organizations and her work has appeared in numerous major online publications. Fisk holds a Bachelor of Arts in public and international affairs from Princeton University.