The movement of the ankle joint, as well as its adjacent muscles and tendons, is called ankle mobility.
You have a wider range of motion during your activities if your ankle is flexible. Mobility means the ability to move freely and safely while performing daily activities, and it’s something we should all prioritize, especially as we age.
When you have a properly flexible ankle, you have a much greater range of motion during many activities, including a variety of leisure and daily activities.
If you experience stiffness or pain in either ankle, or perhaps you just want to improve your existing athletic performance, fine-tuned ankle stretches and specific exercises will help.
Ankle movement exercises
Regular exercise and stretching of the ankles and feet can help ensure optimal muscle support. These types of activities can also promote range of motion in the foot, allowing a person to remain proactive as much as possible.
#1 Circles around the ankles
Start with small circles and gradually increase the diameter to widen the ankle joints as much as possible. Go back to less if you experience pain or discomfort. Breathe slowly and move smoothly and fluidly.
Performing this ankle movement before playing football or on a power leg day at the gym, or even as a routine in your daily warm-ups can prove extremely beneficial.
#2 Downward Facing Dog
Start in a plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists. Pull your navel toward your spine and lift your butt toward the ceiling. Form a V with your body, reaching your heels toward the ground.
Pedal your feet one at a time, pushing them toward the floor. Pedal for 10 seconds, then rest.
#3 Seated Plantar Fascia Stretch
Sit firmly and cross one leg over the other. Pull the bottom of your toes back closer to your body until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold for about 1520 seconds. Answer three more times.
As the stiffness in the ankles heals and the pain subsides, you can deepen the stretch by doing it with both legs slightly bent.
#4 Fingers up
This ankle movement is more difficult because it bends the ankle much more than exercises like heel raises.
- Put your weight on the balls of your feet so that your heels hang off the bottom step. If necessary, use a bannister for additional support.
- Lift your toes, then slowly lower your feet, keeping your heels below ground level.
- Do a couple of sets of 10 lifts every other day.
- Holding weights while doing toe raises adds resistance.
#5 Balance with one leg
This can be a daily workout to improve ankle and foot mobility. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. If you need help staying steady, stand against a wall or a chair you can grab onto.
Alternatively, straighten your arms by extending them out to the sides and lift one knee to stand on the other leg. Balance on one leg for 30 seconds, then repeat two repetitions on each side.
#6 Ankle Stretch
Wrap one end of the sports rope over the right foot (not the top of the shoe). Pull the sports rope with your right leg until you get the resistance and difficulty you need. Extend the toe of your right foot down, just as if you were driving and pressing the gas pedal. Hold for five seconds before repeating 20 times. Repeat without the left leg after switching legs.
Stretching and ankle exercises can help improve mobility while avoiding injury. Warm up for at least 510 minutes with low-impact activity before stretching.
Before starting any new stretches, consult your doctor. If you suspect an injury, refrain from stretching and go straight to a doctor.
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