Midtown Manhattan 36 W 44th St Ste 914 New York, NY 10036

Ankle Exercises

Floor stretch

Floor stretch Exercise
  1. Stand facing a wall about two feet away.
  2. Stretch out your arms up to your shoulder height and place your hands on the wall for balance.
  3. Step the leg (that you want to stretch) back and keep it straight.
  4. Keep both feet flat on the floor.
  5. Push down on the rear foot with your toes somewhat pointed in as you lean into the stretch.
  6. As your body leans into the stretch, slightly bend your front leg at the knee joint until you feel a stretch in the back leg.
  7. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  8. Aim for at least 5 sets of 4.
  9. Switch legs and repeat. If you have any discomfort, try standing a little farther from the wall and see if that helps. If not, stop the exercise and touch base with your therapist.

Heel raises

Knee heel raises1 Exercise
  1. Stand with your feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart.
  2. If you feel unsteady, lightly hold with your hand on a chair, wall, table, or counter.
  3. Keeping your knees straight, raise both heels such that you’re standing on your toes. Make sure that you feel pressure on the inside of your big toes rather than the ends of your feet.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  5. Then, slowly lower your heels back to the floor.
  6. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps. Do at least 2 sets a day initially and then work yourself up from there.

Stair stretch

Stair stretch Excersie
  1. For this exercise, you can either use a step stool or a staircase.
  2. Do make sure that you have something solid to hold on to (such as a handrail) to keep yourself steady.
  3. Stand on the step or staircase and move the foot of the affected leg back so that you are standing on the ball of that foot at the edge of the step.
  4. Keeping your knees straight, slowly let the heel of that foot drop down off the step or staircase. You will feel a gentle stretch in the back of your calf and/or Achilles heel. Try not to put all your weight on the leg being stretched; instead, keep some of the weight on the other leg too.
  5. Hold this stretch for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Then bend that knee slightly forward. Keep your heel as low as possible while your knee is bent. This exercise gives another group of calf muscles a good stretch.
  7. Hold this stretch for a couple of seconds.
  8. Do at least 2 to 4 reps on the same side, and then repeat the same steps on the other side.

Calf stretch knee straight

Calf stretch knee straight Exercise
  1. Sit on the floor with your affected leg stretched out in front of you.
  2. Bend your good leg at your knee joint with your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Take a small towel and wrap around the ball of your affected foot right below your toes.
  4. Grab one end of the towel in each hand with your hands directly above your knees.
  5. Gently pull back on the towel while bending your foot up toward you and keeping your knee straight. You will feel a gentle stretch in the back of your lower leg and your heel.
  6. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and then release.
  7. Move back to the starting position, with your affected leg straight on the floor and the other leg bent.
  8. Relax for a few seconds, and then repeat the stretch 2 to 4 times on each side.

Ankle plantar flexion

ankle plantar flexion exercise
  1. Sit with your affected leg stretched straight in front of you on the floor or bed.
  2. Bend your other leg at your knee, and place that foot flat on the floor.
  3. Keeping your affected leg straight, gently move your foot down so your toes point away from your body.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 and relax.
  5. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.

Ankle dorsiflexion

Ankle-Dorsiflexion
  1. Sit with your affected leg stretched straight in front of you on the floor or bed.
  2. Bend your other leg at your knee, and place that foot flat on the floor.
  3. Keeping your affected leg straight, gently draw your foot up and so your toes point towards your face.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 and relax.
  5. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.

Alphabet exercise

alphabet exercise
  1. Sit on a chair or the floor.
  2. If sitting on the floor, place a foam roll or rolled-up towel under your lower leg to ease ankle movements.
  3. Draw the alphabet with your toes, with slow and nice movements to get the small muscles in your ankle moving. Trace the alphabet 1 to 3 times.
  4. Repeat the same with your other ankle.

Side-to-side knee swing exercise

Side to side knee swing exercise
  1. Sit upright in a chair with your feet placed flat on the floor.
  2. Gently swing your affected knee from side to side while keeping your foot flat and pressing on the floor.
  3. Do at least 5 to 8 repetitions.

Towel curl

Towel curl Exercise
  1. Stand or sit in a sturdy chair with your feet planted flat on the floor.
  2. Lay a towel on the floor in front of you.
  3. Put the toes of one foot on the end of the towel and curl all your toes to scrunch the towel toward you. Be mindful of using all your toes and working your toe muscles.
  4. Then, use your toes to scoot the towel back.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times with each foot.
  6. Once you master this level, place a light weight on the towel’s opposite end and repeat the same steps.

Isometric opposition exercises

isometric opposition exercise
  1. Sit upright in a chair with your feet placed close together flat on the floor.
  2. Push your affected foot inward against your other foot.
  3. Hold for a count of 6 seconds and rest.
  4. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.
  5. Next, take the heel of your unaffected foot and position it on top of your injured foot. Press down with the good heel while using your affected foot to resist your top heel’s downward motion by pushing up against it.
  6. Hold for a count of 6 seconds and rest.
  7. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.

Resisted ankle inversion

resisted ankle inversion Exercise
  1. Take a resistance band and create a knot in its middle.
  2. Then, wrap the resistance band around the ball of your affected foot with the knot on the outer side of the foot.
  3. Cross the good leg over the affected, wrapped ankle.
  4. Next, loop the other end of the band coming from the affected foot around the ball of the top (good) foot to anchor it.
  5. Finally, grab the other free end of the band from the good foot in your hand.
  6. Then, gently turn your bottom (affected) foot away from your top (unaffected) foot. Each motion must stem from your ankle and not your entire leg.
  7. Slowly return to the starting position.
  8. Do at least 3 sets of 10.

Resisted ankle eversion

Resisted ankle eversion Exercise
  1. Take a resistance band and create a knot in its middle.
  2. Then, wrap the resistance band around the ball of your affected foot with the knot on the inside of the foot.
  3. Keep your legs straight and loop the other end of the band coming from the affected foot around the ball of the good foot to anchor it.
  4. Finally, grab the other free end of the band from the good foot in your hand.
  5. Then, gently turn your affected foot away from your unaffected foot. Each motion must stem from your ankle and not your entire leg.
  6. Slowly return to the starting position.
  7. Do at least 3 sets of 10.

Resisted Ankle Dorsiflexion

Resisted ankle dorsiflexion Exercise
  1. Take a resistance band and tie its ends together to form a loop. Anchor one end of the loop to a secure object or shut a door on it. You can also have someone grasp one end of the loop to create resistance.
  2. Sit on the floor or in a chair.
  3. Wrap the other end of the band over your affected forefoot.
  4. Keeping your leg straight, gently pull on the exercise band with your foot so your toes point towards the ceiling (known as dorsiflexion).
  5. Then, slowly relax.
  6. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Single-leg balance

Single leg balance Exercise
  1. Keep a solid object such as a chair near you so you can hold it in case you feel unsteady.
  2. Stand upright with your feet together and your arms stretched out to your sides, forming the letter “T.”
  3. Tighten your tummy and gluteus (butt) muscles to activate your core. This will help prevent instability or falling to one side or the other. You may also enhance your focus by gazing at an object right in front of you.
  4. Lift the foot of the unaffected leg off the ground and bend it at the knee.
  5. Keeping the other leg straight, try to balance the bent leg for at least 20 seconds. Focus on standing upright without leaning side-to-side or to the front or back.
  6. Then bring your leg and arms down and relax.
  7. Do at least 8 to 10 reps.
  8. Once you can balance on your affected leg with your eyes open, try balancing on it with your eyes closed.
  9. Once you master up to this level without falling or incurring any pain or unease, beef up the single-leg balance by standing on something squishy such as a pillow or a section of foam. Repeat the entire sequence as mentioned above.

Shin muscle stretch

Shin muscle stretch Exercise
  1. Sit upright in a chair with both feet on the floor.
  2. Bend your affected leg at the knee joint and curl the toes of that foot towards the floor. The upper part of your foot near your toes will touch the floor while your toes will be directed away. You should feel a good stretch in the front part (shin) of your lower leg.
  3. Hold this stretch for a count of 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Do at least 2 to 4 reps.
  5. Relax, switch sides, and repeat the above steps.
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