Ankle Warm-Up Exercises

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It is essential to warm up before any athletic activities to avoid injury. As ankle sprains are one of the most common types of sports injuries, ankle warm-up exercises are important for everyone to learn. Review three easy ankle warm-up exercises below.

The benefits of warming up properly may include:

  • Improved overall blood flow and circulation
  • Improved neuromuscular control
  • Improved freedom of movement and range of motion
  • Decreased injury risk

If you are going to work out or engage in an athletic activity, warming up properly is essential. One of the best healthcare professionals to work with to learn how to warm up your ankles is a physical therapist. Your PT can assess your current level of fitness and injury risk and can prescribe the right exercises for you to do.

Before starting this or any other exercise program for your ankles check in with your doctor and physical therapist to learn if exercise is safe for you to do. Your physical therapist can also show you how to do these ankle exercises.

Achilles Tendon Stretching

  1. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Using a towel, loop it around the bottom of your feet.
  3. Pull the towel toward your chest until a gentle stretch is felt behind the ankle.
  4. Hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat five times.

This exercise is known as the towel calf stretch and can be part of a comprehensive stretching program. Be sure to stop this exercise if it causes pain in your feet, ankles, or legs.

Ankle Inversion

  1. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Turn your foot inward as far as possible.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat five times.

As your foot turns inwards, you should notice it slightly bends up, exposing the bottom of your arch and foot. When this happens, you know you are performing the exercise properly.

Ankle Eversion

  1. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Turn your foot outward as far as possible.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat five times.

Ankle Plantar Flexion and Dorsi Flexion

  1. Sit with your legs out in front of you.
  2. Actively flex your ankle up so your toes move towards your knees.
  3. Hold this position for three seconds.
  4. Point your ankles and toes down away from you.
  5. Hold this position for three seconds.
  6. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

Move slowly and allow your ankle to move fully through the range of motion.

Ankle Alphabet

  1. Sit with your legs out in front of you.
  2. You may want to hang your ankle and foot over the edge of a bed to allow for full mobility.
  3. Draw letters of the alphabet with your toes.
  4. Once you make it A to Z, repeat on the other foot.

Ankle stretches can be done daily to keep your ankles moving properly. They also may be a part of your physical therapy rehab program after an ankle sprain, broken ankle, plantar fasciitis, or any other lower extremity injury. Your physical therapist can teach you exactly what you should do to keep your ankles healthy and moving properly.​​

A Word From Verywell

Performing a proper warm up before sports or exercise can ensure that your body is ready to go. By taking the time to properly warm up and stretch your ankles, you can maximize your athletic performance and minimize your injury risk.

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