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Ankle Strength Exercises

This months muscle of the month is less a muscle and more a whole structure! The ankle! I have had so many clients with ankle injury's and issues and for many the same strength exercises apply. Here are some balance exercises that will really help build strength in any ankle. Balance is also really good for maintaining coordination, practicing some mindfulness and preventing falls.

Single-leg Balance

This simple single-leg exercise can go a long way in increasing your leg strength, and as a result, your balance. All you need is a chair or object to hold onto for added stability.

Stand up with legs directly under your body or as they feel best naturally.

Shift your weight from both feet onto one foot. (If you feel unstable, use a chair to prop against until you build strength).

Hold for a few seconds at least, adding time as you improve.

Switch legs and repeat.

Repeat each set.

Practice the exercise once a day.

As you improve, you can lift your non-weight-bearing leg off the ground more and more, or stand on unstable surfaces, like a balance ball for an added challenge. You can also simply increase the amount of time you hold the pose.

2.) Single-Leg Balance with Movement

If you don’t feel challenged by the exercise above, add some additional movement.

Stand up with your legs directly under your body as they feel the most natural.

Shift your body weight from both feet onto just one foot.

Lift the leg without weight on it off the floor, slowly.

Instead of keeping your lifted leg still, like the single-leg balance mentioned above, move your leg.

Swing it back behind your body and then in front, bend your knee and lift it up towards your waist and then back down. Or, send your leg out towards the side of your body and then back in. Perhaps, do all three in sequence.

If you are unsteady because of the movement, use a chair for added support, just like you did in the original single-leg balance. Eventually, you will be able to do this pose unaided.

3.) Toe-Heel Walking

Transferring your weight from your heels to the front pad of your foot and help to build stronger muscles throughout your foot and ankle. This exercise doesn’t require too much balance and no additional props other than your own body.

Stand up.

Shift your body weight to the back of your feet.

Make sure the front part of your foot is elevated off the floor.

Balance on your heels, then walk.

Keep this up for a few seconds at least between breaks. Aim for 8 sets of 15 to 20 seconds with 20 seconds rest between.

Transfer your body weight to your toes (or as close as you can get).

Begin walking on your toes.

Keep this up for a few seconds at least between breaks.

Try to complete this routine twice a day and aim to increase the duration as you gain strength back in your ankles.

One final note on ankles and feet, get into a habit of rolling your feet daily. Use a tennis ball and putting a little pressure under your foot roll the ball from heel to toe, side to side, up and down, anywhere your foot feels it needs some care and attention.

Thank you for taking some time to read my blog, have a great day.

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