Foot and Ankle Exercises

1
Ankle Pump Up

Ankle Pump Up. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise helps increase ankle dorsiflexion and strengthens the muscles in the front of your lower leg (shin). Pull your foot up like you are trying to touch your toes to the front of your shin. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Start out doing 3 sets of 10 exercises and work your way up to doing 3 sets of 30 exercises. Try to do the exercises three times per day.

2
Ankle Pump Down

Ankle Pump Down. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise helps increase ankle plantarflexion and strengthens the muscles in the back of your lower leg (calf). Push your foot down like you are pointing your toes toward the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Start out doing 3 sets of 10 exercises and work your way up to doing 3 sets of 30 exercises. Try to do the exercises three times per day.

3
Bent Knee Wall Stretch

Bent Knee Wall Stretch. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise helps stretch one of the calf muscles called the soleus. Line yourself up squarely in front of a solid wall. Outstretch your arms to lean against the wall. Move one foot forward. The other foot should stay back. Slightly bend the knee (on the leg that is further back) until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold that position for 30 seconds. Start out doing 3 sets of 10 exercises and work your way up to doing 3 sets of 30 exercises. Try to do the exercises three times per day.

4
Straight Knee Wall Stretch

Straight Knee Wall Stretch. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise helps stretch one of the calf muscles called the gastrocnemius. Line yourself up squarely in front of a solid wall. Outstretch your arms to lean against the wall. Move one foot forward. The other foot should stay back. Straighten the knee (on the leg that is further back) until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold that position for 30 seconds. Start out doing 3 sets of 10 exercises and work your way up to doing 3 sets of 30 exercises. Try to do the exercises three times per day.

5
Toe Pick Ups

Toe Pick Ups. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise helps strengthen your toes and improve their flexibility. Place a pile of objects on the floor and use your toes to pick them up and move them to make another pile. Do 3 sets of exercises three times per day.

6
Toe Rise

Toe Rise. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise helps to strengthen your toes and calf muscles. Stand on a stable surface and rise up onto your toes by lifting your heels off the ground. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Start out doing 3 sets of 10 exercises and work your way up to doing 3 sets of 30 exercises. Try to do the exercises three times per day. If you are unstable, hold onto a chair or wall for balance.

7
Plantar Fascia Massage

Plantar Fascia Massage. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise directly massages the plantar fascia. Sit down and cross your leg over your knee. With one hand, pull your toes back toward your nose. With the other hand, massage the area on the bottom of your foot just in front of your heel. Do this for 10 minutes three times per day.

8
Ice Bottle Massage

Ice Bottle Massage. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise helps to massage and ice your foot at the same time. Fill a bottle with water and freeze it. Roll your foot on the bottle for 10 minutes three times per day.

9
Towel Stretch

Towel Stretch. Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.

This exercise helps to increase ankle dorsiflexion and stretch the calf muscles. Sit on the floor or on a bed and keep your knee straight. Loop a towel around your foot and pull the towel back until you start to feel a stretch in your calf muscles. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Start out doing 3 sets of 10 exercises and work your way up to doing 3 sets of 30 exercises. Try to do the exercises three times per day.

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