Ankle exercises

If you’re recovering from a surgery or injury, your health-care provider may recommend some ankle exercises you can do at home. These should be done daily, or even multiple times every day, to help recover strength and flexibility. These should be done in addition to physical therapy if you’re going to physical therapy.

Ankle alphabet

Sit comfortably with your leg stretched out in front of you. Trace the letters of the alphabet with your big toe. Make sure the motion involves the ankle.

Achilles stretch

Stand facing a wall, with one foot in front of the other. Lean forward with your hands on the wall. Bend the front leg, leaving the rear leg straight and keeping both heels on the floor. Keep your toes pointed in. Continue until you feel a gentle stretch, hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg forward. Complete one set of five.

Toe pointing with elastic band

Sit on the floor with an elastic band or loop around your foot. Press down as far as possible against the resistance of the band. Slowly return to the starting position. Complete one set of 10.

Foot flexing with elastic band

Attach the elastic band or loop to a stable chair leg with the other end around the foot. Pull your toes up toward your head against the resistance. Keep the motion slow. Do one set of 10.

Inversion and eversion with elastic band

Attach the loop or band to a stable chair leg. With heel on the floor, pull the foot in (toward the other foot) and up. Keep knee movement minimal.
With elastic band/loop attached to stable chair leg OR the other foot, pull the foot/feet out and up, away from the other foot and slowly return to the neutral position. Complete one set of 10

Toe raises

Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step, holding on to the rail for support. Slowly lower heels as far as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Then, rise up to the toes as far as possible. Complete one set of 10.

When this starts to feel easy for you, start doing a single-leg stance on a floor (not on the step). Start with a few times and work your way up. Use a chair or handhold for balance if needed. Then begin trying toe rises without holding on. When you can do 20 raises on the injured foot without stopping to rest and without holding on, you should be able to return to full activity.

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