The Best Ankle Mobility Exercises

Best Ankle Mobility Exercises for Wellness

Ankle mobility refers to the level of flexibility you have in one or both of your ankle joints and the surrounding tendons and muscles in the area. When you have a truly flexible ankle, you can experience a much greater range of motion during various activities, including different recreational and daily activities you can engage in. If you presently have a degree of weakness or pain in one or both of your ankles, or if you simply desire to improve your current sports performance, attuned ankle stretching and specific exercises can greatly increase your present strength and mobility. When you want to learn how to increase ankle mobility, it’s important to know some of the best ankle mobility exercises to quickly and effectively reward your efforts. In this article, we’ll discuss how to increase ankle mobility with some of the best ankle mobility exercises, ankle stretches, and ankle stability exercises. 

woman taking supplementsHow to Increase Ankle Mobility

Ankle joint mobility is ultimately essential for a good range of motion to achieve a number of unique recreational and daily physical activities. A good range of motion is important to support the body’s various movements in general. These movements typically involve engaging in dorsiflexion or plantar flexion movements. Plantar flexion occurs when you point your toes down toward the floor or ground. In turn, dorsiflexion occurs when you pull your toes upward, as if lifting them toward the sky above you. Both of these physical movements are fairly difficult to perform with a currently stiff ankle. The force you put on your ankles can also vary somewhat based on the particular physical activity or activities you’re performing or otherwise attempting to perform. When a person is walking, for example, their ankle is sustaining around five times the amount of their body weight. 

In addition to the weight placed on a person’s body when they are walking, if they also participate in running, the present force they’re placing on their body during this activity is then increased to up to 13 times the weight of their body. Even if the active joint is in a static position, it’s still providing a degree of physical support for the rest of the body. In addition to the aforementioned, tight ankles also have the ability to hinder sports performance. Increasing your level of physical mobility can reduce your risk for sprains, strains, and other ankle injuries. Physical dysfunction also has the ability to cause levels of pain that extend into the knee, lower leg, hips, and more. You can experience limited mobility from genetics, gender, age, diseases, and biomechanical dysfunctions. When you seek to increase ankle mobility, strength exercises, flexibility stretches, and ankle mobility drills can all significantly help.

Stair StretchStrength Exercises

Some of the most impactful exercises to consider engaging in for better ankle mobility increase present ankle strength. These ankle mobility exercises include heel lifts, toe/heel walks, toe raises/heel drops, overhead squats, lunges, and ankle flexion exercises. 

Heel Lifts

With the assistance of a podiatrist or other support, slowly lift your heels off the ground. 

Toe/Heel Walks

Walk a specific distance completely on your toes and then walk the same distance back on your heels.

Toe Raises/Heel Drops

This ankle mobility exercise involves standing on a step and alternating between rising up on your toes and letting your heels drop down to the ground.

Overhead Squats

This type of squat is essentially a total body squat that strengthens your mobility in a range of joints. In addition to helping the mobility of your ankles, it also helps your hip, knee, and shoulder joints. 


You can perform a given lunge while you stay in place. This lunge is called a static lunge, which impactfully helps with ankle mobility. Walking lunges can also be beneficial.

Ankle Flexion Exercises

You can effectively improve your ankle mobility by also participating in some dorsiflexion ankle exercises and ankle flexion exercises. You can use resistance bands for even greater results.

Flexibility Stretches

Ankle flexibility exercises are other great ankle mobility exercises, involving static stretching for improved ankle joint dorsiflexion range of motion. Some of these ankle stretches include toe-wall stretches, big-toe stretches, ankle end-range isometric stretches, and ankle circles.

Toe-Wall Stretches

For this stretch exercise, stand with the top of your foot against a wall with your toes pointing at the ceiling. Now, with your heel resting on the floor, effectively shift your body forward for ankle stretches. 

Big-Toe Stretches

You can do this ankle stretch in either a standing or sitting position. It involves bending your toes upward and back until you begin to feel a stretch along your plantar fascia muscle.

Ankle End-Range Isometric Stretches

For this ankle stretch, place one knee on the ground while the other knee is bent, so you are in a semi-kneeling position. Now, lean forward so your knee hovers above your toes, and effectively push that given foot into the ground. This motion helps stretch the ankle.

Ankle Circles

With this exercise, you’ll rotate your ankle joint in circular motions, alternating between counterclockwise and clockwise movements. 

Ankle Mobility Drills

Mobility drills are a third type of ankle exercise to effectively improve ankle functioning. These movements don’t fall under ankle stretching or strength training. Other ankle stability exercises, such as single-leg hops and ankle jumps, are mobility exercises you can perform on their own in or conjunction with other types of focused exercises, such as squats, to achieve a full-body workout.

runner feetExperience the Best Ankle Mobility Exercises With FASI

When you want to prevent the occurrence or reoccurrence of an ankle injury, decrease the severity of any experienced ankle injuries, or improve your performance during recreational and other daily activities, you need these ankle mobility and ankle stability exercises. To experience these and other effective ankle treatment options, come see the Foot and Ankle Podiatrists of Illinois in Algonquin today.

Written by Ali Hyderi