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Lower leg and ankle exercises commonly used for rehabilitation and prevention of sports injuries. Use the filters below to identify early, middle or late stage ankle exercises as well as for your specific injury. This is just a guide and we recommend seeking professional advice.
Ankle eversion is the movement of turning the sole of the foot outwards and is controlled by the peroneal muscles on the outer calf.
Active ankle movements such as these are great in the early stages after an ankle injury. They will help to increase ankle movement and also pumping the ankle up and down will help reduce swelling.
Ankle eversion is also sometimes known as supination and is the movement of turning the foot so the sole faces outwards (away from the other foot). A resistance band is very useful for ankle exercises.
The calf raise is a widely used exercise to strengthen the calf muscles. There are many variations and resistance machines are also available.
Dorsiflexion is the movement of pulling the foot upwards. Using a resistance band to perform this movement will strengthen the shin muscles.
The eccentric heel drop places the emphasis of the movement on the downward phase so that the calf muscles must contract as they lengthen to control dorsiflexion.
The heel toe balance exercise, sometimes called a tandem stance is designed to start to work on proprioception and balance. This is a good build-up to wobble board work.
Heel toe walking is a great exercise for the ankle and calf muscles. It will strengthen all muscles of the lower leg, as well as help improve proprioception or balance.
Hopping exercises are important in late stage rehabilitation in lots of sports. They help to improve balance, proprioception and explosive strength.
Isometric inversion and eversion. This exercise is used to begin to strengthen the ankle invertors (tibialis posterior) and evertors (peroneals) in the early stages of treatment.
The medicine ball catch exercise is designed to challenge the single leg balance with an unknown. This develops proprioception after lower limb injuries.
Plantar flexion is the ankle movement of moving the foot down, pointing the toes away from the body. Using a resistance band is an early stage exercise for calf strengthening.
The posterior tibialis exercise targets this muscle specifically by combining the two movements which it performs. This muscle may need strengthening to help reduce overpronation.
Proprioception is our sense and awareness of the position of our body parts and is closely linked to balance. Having good proprioception helps to reduce the risk of injury.
Inversion (also known as pronation) is the movement of turning the foot so that the sole faces inwards. A resistance band is great for this exercise and other ankle exercises.
The resistance band jump exercise is a great late stage proprioception test! Hops and jumps can be used in the early stages but using the band adds an extra challenge
Resisted eccentric inversion is a great exercise for using after ankle sprains to help reduce the chance of future injuries.
The seated calf raise exercise is used to strengthen the calf muscles, especially Soleus. It is an early stage exercise which can be progressed to standing once this is pain free.
Step back exercises can be used as late stage ankle exercises to increase push-off strength, but will also work the hip and bum muscles.
The stork balance is a simple single leg balance exercise, although various progressions can be added to make it more difficult. It improves balance and proprioception.
The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before beginning rehabilitation.
Toe raise or foot raise exercises work the shin muscles at the front of the lower leg. This is an early stage exercise which can be progressed using a resistance band.
The main aim of using a balance board is to improve proprioception. This is our sense and awareness of the position of our body parts.