We don’t tend to give our ankles much thought, but well-functioning ankles are extremely important for daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, squatting, and lunging motions. Here are a few effective stretches to try when you feel stiffness in your ankles or tightness somewhere in the foot or calf region.
- Stand tall on your feet hip distance apart.
- Shift your weight slightly to the left and lift your right heel from the floor, leaving the toes to touch the ground.
- Move your ankle in a clockwise rotation, as if you’re trying to “draw” as large a circle as you can with it.
- Perform 20 circles clockwise, then reverse the movement, and perform 20 circles anti-clockwise.
- Switch feet and repeat on the other side. Complete three sets per side.
Flexion and Extension
- Sit on a mat with your legs extended in front of you. Keep your ankles at a natural, 90-degree angle and your toes pointing upward.
- Moving both feet at the same time, extend your ankles, pointing as far away as you can with your toes.
- Stay in the full extension for a moment, then reverse the movement, flexing your foot to see how close to your shins you can bring your toes.
- Alternate between flexion and extension for 20 repetitions. Complete two sets.
Inversion and Eversion
- Start with your feet flat on the ground, your toes pointing straight ahead.
- With your right foot, roll your ankle outward as far as possible (inversion). Hold for a moment at the end of the stretch.
- Reverse the movement and roll your ankle inward as far as possible (eversion). Hold for a moment.
- Continue inverting and everting 20 times before switching feet. Complete two sets per side.