Broken Ankle Exercises

The following broken ankle exercises form part of our full broken ankle rehabilitation program. Created by professional sports physiotherapist Paul Tanner they include stretching, mobility, strengthening, movement control and functional ankle exercises.

Whilst these exercises are suitable for anyone who has suffered a broken ankle of any kind, it is important you take your medical consultant’s advice before beginning exercises with a broken ankle.

Our program consists of four phases. Once your cast or boot is removed then your ankle could be hot, sore and stiff. It is important you get control of these symptoms before beginning any exercises. See our full ankle fracture rehab program for more details.

Stretching exercises

Calf stretch straight leg

Place your hands on the wall and step forward with the foot you are not stretching. Keep your toes pointed forward and your back heel on the ground and lean into the wall without bending your back knee.

Calf stretch bent leg

Place your hands on the wall and step forward with the foot you are not stretching. Keep your toes pointed forward and your back heel on the ground and lean into the wall. Bend the knee and ease in to feel a stretch lower down at the back of your leg.

Strengthening exercises

Isometric inversion

For this ankle inversion exercise a resistance band is wrapped around the forefoot and anchored to a table leg or held by a partner. This exercise works the ankle inverter muscles as the athlete turns the foot in against the resistance of the band.

Isometric eversion

Ankle eversion is also sometimes known as supination and is the movement of turning the foot so the sole faces outwards (away from the other foot).

Isometric dorsiflexion

Apply tension to the band and resist this movement with your foot, which should not move.

Resisted inversion

The band is wrapped around the inside of the foot, and then move the foot in an inward direction against resistance.

Resisted eversion

The band is wrapped around the outside of your foot, and then the foot is pulled up towards the shin with the soul of the foot turned inwards. Point the foot downwards and turn outwards at the same time to work the peroneal muscles on the other leg.

Resisted plantar flexion

Hold the band, then pull it against a fixed foot. Keeping the foot in neutral, resist the force from the band.

Double leg calf raise

Place the balls of your feet on the floor and push up onto your tiptoes, and slowly drop down as far as comfortable.

Bent knee double leg calf raise

Use both legs bent at the knee, and raise up onto tiptoes then lower the heels.

Reverse lunge

Bend your back leg so your knee will nearly touch the ground, and your front knee should be parallel to the ground. Your front leg is the one that will be working.

Forward lunge

Single-leg calf raise

Stand against a wall and bring your heel up as high as you can, then slowly come back down, dropping your heel.

Single leg bent knee calf raise

Lean into a wall, and slightly bend your knees. Take load on one leg, keeping the knee bent perform a heel raise from the ankle.

Seated calf raise

Step up

Sit on a chair with the knees bent and lift your heels off the ground as high as possible, resting a weight on the knees will increase the resistance.

Heel drop

This is great for the standing leg you are working on. Try and keep the knee over the toes, and only go as deep as you feel comfortable.

Movement control exercises

Single leg balance

Stand on the wobble board with one leg. Rock the board from front to back and then side to side, then rotate the board in a circular motion in one direction and repeat in the other direction.

Toe taps

Stand on a mat, begin by raising your right foot and tapping it forward, to the side, behind you, and to the opposite side. Then, return your right foot to the mat and repeat with the left side.

Plyometric exercises

Jump on the spot

Jump up and down continuously for the required time.

Backwards jump

Jump backwards for the required time controlling the landing.

Triple jump

Jump forward for the required amount of time, maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Land softly and gently.

Side jump

Perform a jump with a lateral movement to your side. Continue this movement back and forth.

Functional exercises

Tiptoe walking

When you are confident you can perform these exercises comfortably, progress on to the other specific foot strengthening exercises.

Walking lunge

Land forward absorbing the force on the front leg, keeping your body upright.

High knee to lateral reach out

Toes should be pulled up towards the ceiling.

High knee march

March forwards on your toes driving your knees high.

Forward T

Stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent, Lean forwards, open up your arms and pull the non-supporting leg backwards to make the shape of a ‘T’ and maintain balance for the required time.

Read more on ankle fractures

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