Ankle exercises are important for maintaining strength as well as for rehabilitating from an ankle injury. All of the muscles and ligaments in the ankle work together to provide stability and balance while walking, running, or performing any other form of physical activity.
This set of four, simple exercises is commonly used in therapy and rehabilitation centers for ankle maintenance and rehabilitation. These exercises can be completed sitting on any flat surface. Completing 3 sets of 10 repetitions takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
A resistance band is the one material required. These bands can be found at most sports stores in the exercise and weight training section and cost about $10.00 for a set of three bands.
If you are performing these exercises for rehabilitation, it is important to consult a physician or physical therapist to ensure the exercises will be beneficial to you.
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Step 1: Purchase a Resistance Band
After confirming these exercises are safe for you, go to your local sports store and purchase a resistance band. The most common brand is Theraband.
Typically, there are varying degrees of resistance, designated by color. In most cases, green has the least resistance; however, the levels of resistance will be labeled on the package. If you are completing these exercises for strengthening, it is safe to begin with the second or third level of resistance. However if you are completing these exercises for rehabilitation, it is necessary to begin with the lowest resistance for safety purposes.
Resistance bands come either pre-cut or in a roll. The roll allows for multiple bands to be cut, so this type is most commonly seen in rehabilitation centers. Therefore, the pre-cut bands are typically the best option for at-home use.
Step 2: Correct Form for All Four Exercises
These exercises should be completed in a seated position on a flat surface with your legs flat on the ground straight in front of you. The heel of the exercising foot should be on the ground during all of the exercises.
Step 3: Exercise One: Push Down
The first exercise involves placing the resistance band around the ball of the foot with the toes of the foot facing up and pulling the band toward yourself, therefore forming the resistance. Then, press down into the band as if you are trying to make your toes touch the ground. This exercise works the muscles on the back of the ankle. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Step 4: Exercise Two: Pull Up
The second exercise requires a partner or a table leg in order to provide the correct resistance. The resistance band should be placed around the top side of the foot instead of the ball of the foot as in the previous exercises. Then, pull your foot towards your self, bringing the foot from a relaxed position to a position in which your toes are facing upward. This exercise works the muscles on the top of the ankle. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Step 5: Exercise Three: Push Out
The third exercise involves placing the resistance band around the ball of the foot with the toes of the foot facing upward. In order to create the proper tension, the band should also go around non-exercising foot with that foot pulling away from the exercising foot. Then, press your foot against the band to the outside.This exercise works the muscles on the outer sides of the ankle. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Step 6: Exercise Four: Pull In
The fourth exercise involves placing the resistance band around the ball of the exercising foot and forming resistance by crossing the non-exercising foot over the exercising foot. Then, pull your foot away from the crossed-over, non-exercising foot. This exercise works the muscles on the inner sides of the ankle. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Step 7: Continue to Stengthen
If you desire to further your ankle strength and rehabilitation, there are many more challenging exercises that will help continue to increase your ankle strength and stability. An article, video, and pdf document are provided below.
12 Ways to Build Ankle Strength for Top Performance:
Youtube - How to Strengthen Your Ankles:
PDF - Ankle Exercises: