Athletes, dancers and outdoor sports enthusiasts benefit from ankle flexibility because it contributes to greater stability. Greater stability often means better performance. People recovering from ankle injuries and older people who have lost some of their flexibility due to the aging process, can use the same flexibility exercises that highly trained individuals use. Whatever your reason for beginning a program that targets the ankle, realize that your goal is to optimize mobility of the ankle while maintaining joint stability.
Things You'll Need
- Sturdy, straight-backed chair
Engage in a dynamic warm-up for 10 minutes in order to increase overall body temperature and joint range of motion. Walk in place or perform a series of step-touches and dynamic side-to-side lunges.
Face the back of a sturdy, straight-backed chair, grasp the chair back with both hands and stand with legs together and feet pointing forward. Bend the knees slightly, keeping the heels of the feet firmly on the floor. Straighten the knees, rise high up onto the balls of the feet, hold the rise and then lower the heels. Repeat the cycle of bend, straighten, rise and lower 10 to 15 times.
Sit on the floor with legs together and extended in front of you. Lengthen but do not lock the knees and rotate the legs slightly inward from the hip socket so the knees are facing up. Point the toes away from the body to achieve a stretch of the entire foot and then flex the feet until the toes are directed toward the ceiling. Repeat the point and flex of the feet 10 to 20 times.
Remain seated on the floor with both legs extended in front of you and opened in a slight V. Keeping the right heel stable, slowly rotate the toes of the right foot inward as much as possible toward the left foot and then outward as much as possible. Repeat 10 to 20 times with the right foot and then repeat on the left.
Sit on a sturdy chair with both feet resting on the floor and cross your right leg over your left leg so the right knee rests comfortably on the left. Point the toes of the right foot downward and slowly rotate the right foot in a clockwise motion, drawing large circles in the air with your toes. Complete 10 to 20 rotations before reversing the direction and then repeat with the left foot.
Face a wall with feet together. Lean into the wall and bend both knees as much as possible without allowing heels to rise from the floor. Remain leaning into the wall as you bend and straighten the knees 10 to 15 times.
Tips & Warnings
- The ideal time to work on increasing flexibility is immediately following the cool-down of your cardiovascular workout, when the temperature of the soft tissues is elevated.
- If you are recovering from an injury, discuss the suitability of specific ankle stretches with a professional.
- If any stretch causes pain in the ankle area, pull back. Check your technique. You may need to adjust your position or choose a different exercise to target the ankle joint.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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