How can I strengthen my ankles?

Christopher Chiodo, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
You can practice a simple exercise to increase ankle strength that mimics the movement of your foot when you press down on an accelerator or clutch in a car.
  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, pointing forward.
  • Lift your left leg. Hold the ends of an exercise band and place the center of the band under the ball of your foot.
  • Slowly press against the exercise band, as if you were stepping on the gas pedal of your car, and hold for a few seconds. You should feel a stretch on the upper part of your foot. Then release.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Repeat with your right leg.
Edward Phillips
Physical Therapy
Here's how to do toe taps to strengthen ankles:

Reps: 10 front, 10 side-to-side
Sets: 1-3
Intensity: Light to moderate
Tempo: 1-1
Rest: 30-90 seconds between sets

Starting position: Stand up straight with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart. Move your right foot forward so the right heel is in line with the toes of your left foot.

Movement: This is a two-step exercise. Step 1: While keeping your heel grounded on the floor, lift the toes of your right foot as high as you can and tap them on the floor 10 times. Step 2: Still keeping your heel grounded, lift up the toes of your right foot, then tap in and out (to the left and right) 10 times. Repeat both steps with your left foot. This completes one set.

Tips and techniques:
  • Maintain neutral posture with your shoulders down and back.
  • Keep toe taps smooth and controlled.
Too hard? Perform the exercise while seated in a chair with both feet on the floor.

Too easy? Secure a 1- to 3-pound ankle weight around your foot behind the toes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.