6 Excercises for the foot and ankle : Triad Foot & Ankle Center

Step Up Your Fitness Routine: 6 Exercises for the Foot and Ankle

Your feet and ankles are the quiet heroes of your body.  They provide balance, mobility, flexibility, and deserve to be included in your workout regimen.  The good news is you don’t even need a trip to the gym to keep your feet and ankles in shape—many of these foot exercises can be done wherever you are and whenever you have a couple of minutes to spare.


Curls: This exercise, aimed at flexibility and mobility, will loosen up your feet and toes.

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  1. Keeping your toes and the balls of your feet on the floor raise your heels as high as they will go and hold this position for five seconds. Lower your heels.
  2. Raise the heels again, this time high enough so that only the very tips of the big toes and second toes are on the floor and hold for five seconds.  Lower your heels.
  3. Bring your heels up for the third time and this time curl your toes inward so that the tops of the toes touch the floor and hold for five seconds.  Uncurl your toes and lower your heels
  4. Repeat the entire circuit ten times.

Advanced Curls: The muscles of your toes and feet carry a lot of weight every day, and like any other muscles in your body they can get stronger through exercise.

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.  Place a small towel (hand towel or dishtowel size) on the floor in front of you with the short side facing your feet.
  2. Put the toes of your left foot on the short edge of the towel. Curl your toes to grasp the towel and pull the towel toward you. Repeat the exercise five times then switch to the right foot.
  3. When you feel ready, take the exercise to the next level by putting a small weight on the opposite end of the towel

Big Toe Stretch: Your big toe needs a range of motion in order to do its job right. This stretching exercise will keep your big toe flexible and will also help to restore circulation and feeling in toes that have been squashed in tight shoes all day.

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift up your left foot and rest it on your right thigh.
  3. Using both hands gently rotate the big toe for five seconds and pause.
  4. Repeat ten times and lower your foot to the floor.
  5. Lift up your right foot, rest it on your left thigh, and repeat the exercise ten times.

Toe Splay: This exercise can be done with both feet at once, or one foot at a time—the object, in either case, is to build up your toe muscles and give you more control.

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  1. Spread your toes apart as far as you can without giving yourself a cramp. Hold the position for five seconds.
  2. Repeat 10 times.
  3. Once you’ve been doing the exercise enough to feel a difference, change it up by looping a wide rubber band around the front of your foot and spreading the toes.

Monkey Toes: This exercise provides a workout for the all-important muscles on the underside of your feet and toes. For this exercise, you’ll need two shallow bowls and about twenty marbles.

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Put the marbles in one of the bowls and put both that bowl and the empty bowl on the floor in easy reach of your feet.
  3. Dip your left foot into the marble bowl, pick up the marbles one by one with your toes and transfer them to the empty bowl.
  4. When all the marbles have been moved using the toes of your right fit to move them one by one back to the first bowl.

Ankle Flexes: Flexes are good any time, but after an injury, to your foot or ankle they are the key to restoring flexibility. Run through each of these cycles at least three times a day.

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor or standing with support.
  2. Lift your right foot and flex your toes upward as far as you can toward your shin.  Hold the position for ten seconds.
  3. Lift your right foot again and flex your foot again, this time downward until you can feel your calf muscles contract.  Hold the position for ten seconds.
  4. Repeat ten times; work your way up to thirty times.

Remember that any health regimen includes regular checkups.  To keep your feet in optimum shape schedule a yearly exam with one of Triad Foot & Ankle Center’s highly skilled podiatrists in Greensboro, Burlington, and Asheboro; call 336-375-6990 or click here to request an appointment 

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