Are you having problems while trying to squat? Do you need to flare your toes out when trying to come off the ground? If your answer is yes, then you may have poor ankle mobility, which means you will have a compromised stability of the feet, knees, and your lower back. With time passing by, poor ankle mobility will lead to pain in the knee and lower back, Achilles tendonitis, and many other health problems. However, you can improve your ankle mobility with exercises.
Ankle Mobility Exercises
Remember that restoring mobility is something that won’t occur overnight. Instead, it requires time and patience. With consistent stretching and regular exercise, you will see results in about 6 to 12 weeks. Some recommended exercises are:
1. Knee Taps at the Wall
The goal of this exercise is to touch the wall with your knee without lifting the foot off the floor.
- You should place your foot about 5 to 10 cm away from the wall.
- Bend your ankle and try to reach the wall with your knee, without having the need to lift the foot of the floor.
2. Mobilization Using an Exercise Band from Half Kneeling
- Kneel on the ground.
- Secure the exercise band or strap around a stable object.
- Place the band around your ankle.
- Lung forward until your knee is directly over the foot.
3. Mobilization Using a Dowel from Half Kneeling
It is one of the great ankle mobility exercises.
- Get a dowel or a broomstick.
- Kneel down on the floor.
- Place the dowel or the broomstick upright in front of your foot, at the outer site.
- Lung forward in order for your knee to pass the outside of the dowel or broomstick.
4. Wall Calf Stretch
- Stand facing the wall.
- The leg that needs stretching should be placed behind you.
- Make sure to keep your knee stretching straight.
- Start leaning forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the lower leg.
- Stay in that position for about 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise again.
5. Narrow Feet Roller Wall Squat
- Place a roller or a ball on a wall.
- The roller or the ball should be placed just above your glutes.
- Make sure to keep your feet narrow at about 5 inches apart, with the toes pointing forward.
- Start squatting down and up.
- While squatting, focus on working your knees outside of your toes.
- Repeat this exercise 10 or 15 times.
6. Eccentric Single Leg Squats
This is another one of the effective ankle mobility exercises.
- Place one foot on the ground.
- Start squatting slowly, keeping your heel flat on the floor.
- Once you reach the maximum depth where you think you can’t go lower, place the other foot on the floor.
- Stand up using both of your feet.
- Repeat this exercise 10 or 15 times.
7. Alphabet Writing A-Z
- With your foot draw the alphabet from A to Z.
- Move your ankle and foot as much as possible.
- Make sure to feel a mild to moderate stretch and not pain.
- Repeat the exercise with lower case letters.
8. Dorsiflexion Stretching with a Towel
- Sit on the floor and stretch your legs in front of you.
- Keep your back and knees straight.
- Get a towel or a rigid band and place it around your foot.
- Bring your toes toward your head until you feel a stretch in the Achilles tendon, your leg or in the back of your calf.
- Make sure not to move your knees or bend them.
- Once you have felt a stretch remain in that position for about 15 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise a couple of times.
9. Self-myofascial Release on the Foam Roller
Wonder ankle mobility exercises? Try this one.
- Sit on the floor, but get a foam roller first. The harder the foam roller is, the better it is.
- Place leg on the roller, just above the ankle.
- Roll the foam roller up and down your calf and Achilles tendon.
- While performing this exercise you will find a tender spot, focus on that spot for about 15 to 30 seconds.
If you want to learn more about how to improve the mobility of your ankle, watch this video.