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10 Exercises to Strengthen your Ankles

Approximately 850,000 ankle sprains occur each year. This very painful, and often incapacitating, injury most often results from the foot turning inward. Ankle sprains should be treated quickly and properly by a qualified profession to ensure proper healing before returning to regular  activities.  Neglecting proper treatment may cause the sprain to develop into a chronic problem.

To prevent chronic pain and re-injury, ankle sprains need to be rehabilitated properly by a qualified professional. Below are a few points to consider when rehabilitating your ankle:

1) Control Swelling - Follow the RICE principle.

    • Rest - Give your ankle time to heal properly. Stop all activities that cause pain 
    • Ice - Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes 4-5 times daily.
    • Compression - Use compression gear such as elastic bandages to reduce swelling and provide ankle support.
    • Elevation - Elevate your ankle above your heart. This will slow the blood flow to your foot. Also, raising the foot will decrease pain and swelling.

2) Encourage Pain Free Movement

  • Post-injury, your ankles will tighten and stiffen.  Not losing the foot’s range of motion will prevent muscle weakness. Early movement is encouraged, such as elevating your leg and writing the alphabet or doing circles. Stretching your calf muscles is not possible when the ankle muscles are stiff.
  • Walking on your ankles as soon as it feels comfortable will assist in the healing process. Please note that the ankle is still injured and a mild discomfort is inevitable. Let the pain be your guide as how much walking is enough. Do not overdo.  

3) Strengthen and Develop Support For The Injured Ankle

  • Regaining strength in the ankle before returning to activities is very important. Your rehabilitation program should be centered around strengthening the muscles that supports the ankle. Thera-bands, surgical tubing, or a bike inner tube can all be used as resistance exercise equipment to perform simple exercises. 
  • Proprioception, the awareness of the relative position of one's body parts and sense of effort being employed in movement, is sometimes described as the "sixth sense".Proprioception is impaired with ankle sprains. Improvement in this “sixth sense,” may prevent future sprains, and can be gained through balance exercises with open and closed eyes.

4) Prevention 

  • Wearing proper athletic footwear is very important. An ankle brace worn during high impact activities, ankle taping, ElSo athletic socks, and high top shoes all support and stabilizes the ankle during activities, thus helping to prevent re-injury or a chronicity of the sprain.

5) Return To Sport

  • Research that suggested that to safely return to activities, you should be able to perform the following activities: 1) walk or run without pain or altered gait, 2) complete 20 one leg heel raises, 3) balance on one foot for 30 seconds without difficulty, 4) Hop 10 times and your injured leg without difficulty. For comparison, conduct these exercises on your fellow leg.


10 Exercises to Strengthen your Ankles

The ElSo Company does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking orthopedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopedic surgeon.

1) Foot Circle

  • Elevate foot. Move foot in a circular motion within pain free limit. Repeat 20 times in each direction.

2) Alphabet

  • Elevate foot. Print the capital letters of the alphabet as largely as possible with your foot. Move at the ankle not the hip. Repeat alphabet 1-2 times.

3) Standing Calf Stretch 

  • Toes pointing forward, heels flat on the ground. Do not bend at the waist. To increase stretch, place towel under ball of back foot. Hold the stretch for 20 sec; relax and repeat 3 times. 

4) Seated Calf Stretch 

  • If standing is too painful... in sitting position loop a towel around the ball of your foot. Gently pull back on the towel. The knee should be straight. Hold for 20 seconds; relax repeat 3 times. 

5) Foot Up 

  • Pull the foot towards the face against resistance of tubing. Lower slowly. Repeat 3x10 reps. 

6) Foot Down 

  • Point the foot down against resistance of tubing. Let up slowly. Repeat 3x10 reps. 

7) Foot In 

  • Turn the sole of the foot inward against resistance of tubing. Let out slowly. Keep knee pointed up. Repeat 3x10 reps.

8) Foot Out 

  • Turn the sole of the foot outward against resistance of tubing. Let in slowly. Keep knee pointed up. Repeat 3x10 reps.

9) Standing Heel Raise Progression 

  • Push up on toes as high as possible. Lower slowly. Progress from both feet to involved foot only. Perform 10 reps and progress to 30 reps. 

10) One-legged Balance 

  • Attempt to balance on one leg. Once you can  balance for 30 sec with eyes open, progress to playing catch or eyes closed. 


If you have suffered from an ankle injury or is looking for socks to protect your ankles from future injury, please check out our Double Impact Socks that are designed to stabilize your ankle during movement. 


What Past Purchases Say:

"I don't know why someone didn't think of this years ago. I've been wearing two mismatched socks for years in an attempt to get more padding only to be uncomfortable. These are the real deal and well, well worth the money." - Richard K.

"The ELSO Double Impact is the best tennis sock I have ever used. It has the plushness of a Thorlo without the bulk and with much better posture management. They are fantastic - as is the ELSO customer service! Highest Rating!" - Mark M.

"A bit surprised by the collateral materials that came with the socks, I was however very pleased with the fit, the wear and the comfort of the system. As an older, larger guy with a recent knee replacement, the two pair worked wonderfully and my feet and legs felt so much better than in other socks." - Michael K.


Use code: ANKLE10 at checkout and receive a 10% discount off your first purchase. 
If the socks doesn't provide the ankle protection that you need, we will issue a full refund. 


Shop Double Impact Socks now and protect your ankles. 

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