Exercise Guide, Legs
10 Effective Exercises for Weak Ankles

10 Effective Exercises for Weak Ankles

Weak ankles can lead to serious injury.

The ankles do so much for your body. They help you walk, run, jump, dance. They also carry your weight.

Weak ankles affect your balance, increase risk of sprains and can lead to chronic instability.

Strengthening your weak ankles can help you improve your stability, provide pain relief and help you avoid further injury.

If you have weak ankles, you may experience the following symptoms:

-sore ankles and feet

-frequent ankle sprains

-ankles keep rolling

-trouble keeping balance

-trouble keeping your ankles straight in high heel shoes

WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF WEAK ANKLES?

10 Effective Exercises for Weak Ankles

Weak ankles can be caused by conditions or injury.

PREVIOUS TRAUMA

Injury to the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments around your ankles can lead to weak ankles especially if it doesn’t heal properly or gets injured repeatedly.

Strains, sprains, fractures and dislocations can lead to weak ankles. Strains and sprains can be treated at home but fractures and dislocations need physical therapy, wearing a cast or brace and using crutches.

CHRONIC ANKLE INSTABILITY

Chronic ankle instability can develop after an injury like a sprain or a fracture.

Studies show that approximately 20% of people who experience acute ankle sprain develop chronic ankle instability.

This chronic condition causes your ankle to repeatedly give way or roll. It also causes persistent ankle pain, swelling and wobbly ankles.

It can be treated by medication, physical therapy, wearing a brace or surgery.

POSTERIOR TIBIAL TENDON DYSFUNCTION

PITD is also known as acquired flatfoot. It occurs when the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed or tears.

It is caused by injury or overuse. Also, it make your ankle roll inward and your feet and toes turn outward.

You can treat PITD with anti-inflammatory drugs, exercises, immobilization and orthotics.

OSTEOARTHRITIS

This is a condition where cartilage that covers the joint wears down.

It leads to pain, stiffness and inflammation.

WEARING IMPROPER FOOTWEAR

Evidence suggests that wearing incorrect shoes can lead to weak ankles. It can also cause pain in the foot and ankles, and deformities like claw toe.

Wearing shoes that are too narrow, wide, long, short or inadequate support is what we mean by incorrect shoes.

Diabetes

About half the people with diabetes develop nerve damage known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Symptoms include pain and ankle weakness and can lead to numbness and deformities in the foot.

 

Ankle strengthening exercises are an effective way to ensure your ankles don’t develop some of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above.

Here are ten effective exercises for weak ankles.

1. STANDING HEEL RAISES

-Stand next to a counter or table close enough to hold on to the surface for stability.

-Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

-Slowly lift yourself on your toes so that your heels come off the ground.

-Repeat this for ten times at least once a day.

2. DRAW THE ALPHABET

-Sit or lie on your back.

-Lift your ankle and place it on the opposite knee if you’re seated. Just raise your leg if you’re lying on your back.

-Flex your ankle and try to draw the alphabet.

This is one of the easier ankle strengthening exercises that help increase your ankles’ range of motion. Do it multiple times a day.

3. CALF STRETCH

The calf muscle is the muscle that runs on the back of your lower leg until it meets your ankle as your Achilles tendon.

The muscle can get quite tight depending on how long you’ve had an ankle injury. This is one of the most effective exercises for weak ankles as it also strengthens your legs muscles.

To do this exercise:

-Stand on a stair with your heel off the edge.

-Using your body weight and gravity, let your heel dip below the edge of the stairs.

You can also:

-Face the wall and place the ball of your injured foot against the wall.

-Lean forward until you feel a pull in your calf.

-Hold for at least 30 seconds.

4. RESISTANCE BAND ANKLE EXERCISE

This is one of the exercises for weak ankles that requires equipment. In this case, a resistance band.

To do this exercise:

-Tie a small loop at the end of the resistance band for your foot to go through.

-Place the centre of the loop around the base of the big toe. Wrap the band to make a line of pull perpendicular to your leg from that point.

-Slowly move your foot towards the big toe against the resistance without moving your knee.

-Gently return your foot to starting position without letting the band whip it back into position.

-Repeat with the band looped around the base of the little toe and the band anchored on the opposite side.

-Do this 10-15 times for each side.

5. HAND V FOOT

This is one of the easier exercises for weak ankles. All you need is a comfortable chair.

-Start by sitting and putting your left foot flat on the floor.

-Bend forward and put your right hand on the outside of your foot and push against it.

-Resist the force with your foot and hold for about ten seconds.

-Place your hand on the inside of your foot and repeat.

-Switch to the other leg.

-Do this ten times for each foot once a day.

6. ONE FOOT STAND

-Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

-Hold a chair or counter for balance and lift one foot.

-Balance on one foot for about 20 seconds then switch feet.

7. FLEX AND STRETCH

-Lie on your back with your heels on the floor and your toes pointed to the roof.

-Slowly point your toes as far away from you as you can.

-Hold for three seconds then repeat 10 times.

8. HEEL WALK

This is one of the exercises for weak ankles that is also good for balance and stability. You can use a wall or railing to help you not fall over.

To do this exercise:

-Raise your toes to stand on your heels.

-Walk for a short distance for at least once a day.

9. CALF RAISE

-Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold on to the back of a chair or a railing.

-Raise your heels up so that you are standing on your toes then lower your heels down.

For an added challenge, you can do this at the edge of a stair so that your heel is hanging off the edge and add weights.

10. JUMP SQUATS

Jump squats are a compound exercise and are one of the best dynamic exercises for weak ankles. It can strengthen ankles as well as glutes, quads and hamstrings.

-Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

-Slowly lower to the ground so that your knees are slightly bent then jump straight up lowering into a squat.

-Jump until your feet no longer touch the ground

-Repeat until fatigued.

IS CYCLING GOOD FOR ANKLES?

Cycling on a stationary bike is a perfect low impact cardio alternative for people with hurt or swollen ankles. According to the UCSC Health Centre, it can be used for rehabilitating injured ankles.

Avoid outdoor cycling until your injuries are completely healed.

TAKEAWAY

If you see any swelling or redness in your ankles, you should see a doctor immediately. If your ankle pain lasts more than a week, you should seek medical attention.

If you experience any weakness or numbness in your legs, arm or face and can’t walk, you should see a doctor as these are signs of a stroke.

Ensure you keep your ankle wrapped to keep it stable through your recovery. Pushing yourself too fast, too soon when exercising can worsen your injury.

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