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Build Stability from the Ground Up: Effective Physical Therapy Exercises for Stronger Ankles




Ankles play a crucial role in supporting our body weight and facilitating movement. Whether you're recovering from an injury or seeking to prevent future issues, incorporating physical therapy exercises into your routine can significantly improve ankle strength and stability. Let's explore a range of evidence-based exercises supported by physical therapy and rehabilitation journals to fortify your ankles.

  1. Calf Raises:

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.

  • Rise onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels as high as possible.

  • Hold briefly, then lower back down.

  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.

  • (Source: Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy)

  1. Ankle Dorsiflexion Stretch:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.

  • Loop a towel or resistance band around the ball of one foot.

  • Gently pull the towel towards you, flexing your ankle upward.

  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.

  • Repeat 2-3 times per ankle.

  • (Source: Journal of Physical Therapy Science)

  1. Ankle Alphabet:

  • Sit or lie down with one leg extended.

  • Pretend your big toe is a pen and "write" the alphabet in the air with your foot.

  • Perform the exercise slowly and with control.

  • Repeat with the other foot.

  • Aim to complete the alphabet 1-2 times per foot.

  • (Source: Journal of Sports Science & Medicine)

  1. Balance Exercises:

  • Stand on one leg while keeping your core engaged and your knee slightly bent.

  • Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.

  • Switch legs and repeat.

  • Aim for 2-3 sets on each leg.

  • (Source: Physical Therapy Journal)

  1. Ankle Circles:

  • Sit or lie down with one leg extended.

  • Rotate your ankle in a circular motion, first clockwise and then counterclockwise.

  • Perform 10-15 circles in each direction.

  • Repeat with the other foot.

  • Aim for 2-3 sets per ankle.

  • (Source: Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy)

  1. Resistance Band Exercises:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended.

  • Loop a resistance band around the ball of one foot and hold the ends with your hands.

  • Point and flex your foot against the resistance of the band.

  • Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions per foot.

  • (Source: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research)

Remember to perform these exercises with proper form and control. Start with a manageable number of repetitions and sets, gradually increasing intensity as your ankle strength improves. If you have existing ankle issues or injuries, it's advisable to consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise regimen.

To further enhance your ankle strength and overall wellness, consider booking an appointment with our physical therapist at Kailua Wellness Center by calling (808) 261-8181. Our experienced team can provide personalized guidance and support on your journey to stronger, healthier ankles.

Incorporating these scientifically-backed physical therapy exercises into your routine can lead to increased stability and resilience in your ankles, allowing you to move with confidence and reduce the risk of injury.

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