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Do you have stiff ankles? 5 exercises to improve your ankle mobility

Ankles are the workhorses of the lower body, taking a beating with every step, jump, and squat. But tight, inflexible ankles can lead to pain, decreased performance, and even injuries. Here are 5 exercises to improve your ankle mobility and get you moving freely again.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush @29_pratyush New Delhi Updated on: May 26, 2024 6:30 IST
ankle exercises
Image Source : FREEPIK 5 exercises to improve your ankle mobility

Ankles are often overlooked when it comes to mobility exercises, yet they play a crucial role in our daily movements. Whether you're an athlete striving for better performance or someone looking to move with ease in everyday life, having flexible ankles is essential. Stiff ankles can lead to various issues, including limited range of motion, poor balance, and increased risk of injury. Fortunately, there are simple exercises you can incorporate into your routine to improve ankle mobility and unlock a world of movement potential.

Calf Stretches:

Tight calf muscles can restrict ankle mobility, making it harder to move freely. To stretch your calves, stand facing a wall with your hands against it at shoulder height. Step one foot back, keeping it straight, and press the heel into the ground. Lean forward, bending the front knee, until you feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Ankle Circles:

Ankle circles provide a straightforward and beneficial method for enhancing ankle flexibility. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Elevate one leg off the ground and proceed to rotate your ankle in circular movements, both clockwise and counterclockwise. Aim to complete 10-15 circles in each direction before switching legs. This exercise can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and performed several times throughout the day, even while sitting at your desk.

Toe Taps:

Toe taps help to improve dorsiflexion, the motion of bringing the toes towards the shin, which is often limited in individuals with stiff ankles. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Lift your toes towards the ceiling while keeping your heels on the ground, then lower them back down. Repeat this motion for 10-15 reps, focusing on maximising the range of motion with each tap.

Heel Raises:

Strengthening the muscles surrounding the ankle joint is crucial for maintaining mobility and stability. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly raise your heels off the ground as high as you can, lifting onto the balls of your feet. Hold for a moment at the top, then lower back down. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Resistance Band Ankle Flexion:

Using a resistance band adds extra resistance to your ankle mobility exercises, helping to improve strength and flexibility. Sit on the floor with one leg extended and loop a resistance band around the ball of your foot. Hold onto the ends of the band with both hands and gently flex your ankle, pulling the band towards you. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps on each foot.

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