Related Categories
Shop by Category
  Braces & Supports
    Ankle Braces & Supports
Shop by Body Area
  Ankle Products
    Ankle Exercise


Shop by Brand

[Print View]

Ankle Exercises


Why Use Balance Exercises?

The use of balance exercises can improve joint stability and overall strength in joints that have been injured. Joint stability occurs when the nerve cells within the joint are healthy. These nerve cells, called proprioceptors, help you maintain balance during various forms of movement. When you injure the nerve cells, such as with a sprain, you must retrain the nerve pathways to recognize the position of the joint. Proprioception is the body's ability to know where your body is in space ("position sense"). For instance, if you close your eyes and move your arm around, you stimulate the proprioceptors in the shoulder and your brain knows where your arm is in space, even though you can't see it.

What Happens When Proprioceptors are Damaged?

If your shoulder proprioceptive cells were damaged and were unable to send the proper nerve signal to the brain, you would not know if your arm was in front of you or behind you. Long term function of the shoulder is in peril if the proprioceptors are not re-trained properly. Permanent proprioceptive loss is possible and shows up as "weak ankles" or joints that are continually re-injured. This functional instability can impair performance and increase the risk of reinjury.

Home Balance Exercises for The Lower Extremity


  1. Stretches for the Ankle
    • Achilles Stretch:
      Stand arm's length from a wall and lean forward with your hands against the wall. Move one foot forward and one foot back a bit. Keep the heel of the back foot flat on the floor. Stretch forward until you feel the stretch in the back of the knee. Hold for 10 seconds. Unlock the back knee, bend it toward the wall until you feel the stretch above the knee. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

    • Ankle and Calf Stretch:
      Sit back in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your heels on the floor, lean forward in the chair. If necessary, push your knees down. Hold for 45 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

  2. Passive Exercises for the Ankle
    • Ankle Circles: Sit on the floor or in a chair. Remove shoes and socks. Moving only your ankle, draw circles. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

    • Drawing The Alphabet: Sit on the floor or in a chair. Remove shoes and socks. Moving only your ankle, draw the alphabet on the floor. Do the entire alphabet once.

  3. Balance Exercises To Stabilize the Ankle
    Coaches across the country have used balance or "wobble" board training, even on their un-injured athletes, incorporating proprioceptive exercise into their overall training program. These exercises are specifically designed to increase activation of the nerve cells and therefore affect the central nervous system pathway to the brain, resulting in heightened function.

    • Balance/Wobble Boards
      The use of balance boards are the most common form of proprioceptive training, and they are easy to use. They help rehabilitate injured ankles and knees. The balance boards offer improved joint stability and reduce re-injury rates. Balance boards work because they help re-train nerve cells recognize the position of the ankle or knee. The repeated use of balance boards establish new neurological pathways from the injured joint to the brain. By using these types of exercise, you have the best chance of remaining injury free and of minimizing of chronic long-term injury.

      A wobble board is a circular or oval piece of wood placed on top of a ball. The wood should be about three-quarters of an inch thick and two feet in circumference. The ball should be about the size of a softball. Set the wobble board on the ball near a counter or a table. Hold onto the counter and balance on the board with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Begin moving, at first very slowly; see-saw and pivot as you feel comfortable. Go very slowly and safely at first, building to more aggressive activity in a few weeks.

    • Postural challenge - An exercise partner can be helpful. The partner challenges a person's stability while he or she is standing on one leg, gently touching the person in one direction and then the other. The person will have to react and use his or her proprioceptors to respond to the position change.

    • Mini Trampoline Exercises - Stand on a mini trampoline with one foot. Work up to two minutes without falling, then switch to the other ankle. When you can stand for two minutes without falling, add a new twist by tossing a volleyball-size ball into the air and catching it while standing on one foot. This helps your balance or proprioception react more quickly to the changes in body position due to throwing and catching the ball. Perform this once a day for 60 days.

  4. Resistive Exercises to Strengthen the Ankle
    • Resistive Tubing Exercises: Theraband makes a great product made of elastic tubing that helps strengthen the ankle joint. Use the manufacturer's directions for ankle exercises.

    • Toe Raises: Stand with the balls of your feet and your toes on a thick book (e.g., a phone book). Hold on to a support. Lower your heels to the floor slowly. Raise yourself slowly as far as you can. Hold for 8 to 10 seconds. Repeat 15 to 20 times.

    • Walking on Heels: While standing, lift your toes off the ground. Start walking, on just your heels. Take 10 to 20 steps.

    • Toe Scrunch: Place a towel on the floor near your chair. Sit down, placing the toes of one foot on the towel. Use your toes to scrunch up the cloth. Keep your heels flat on the floor. Repeat 10 to 20 times. Allow the muscles around the ankle to be exercised while easing stress on the ligaments by doing step ups/downs, single leg balance, and lunge.

    • Wobble Board: A wobble board (balance board) is a very useful device for stretching and strengthening your ankles and for improving balance.



      ***The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in the Web site is for general educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. No one should act upon any information on this Web site without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician with whom they have a confidential doctor/patient relationship.***

      Author: Dr. Tracy A. Norris D.C., C.C.E.P.
      Chiropractic Physician
      Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner




When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the eBay Partner Network and Google Adsense. ”Amazon, the Amazon logo, are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Report complaints regarding any affiliate agent
© 2017 Painreliever.com