Stretches & Exercises to Prevent Ankle Pain

Stretching and exercising can help prevent chronic ankle pain.

Ankle pain is any condition that causes discomfort in one or both of your ankles. Ankle pain can be the result of a sprain or fracture, but you also can experience ankle pain as the result of infection, arthritis or gout. Damage to your ankle can be chronic and cause pain during daily activities as well as during physical activity. A series of stretches and exercises can help reduce your pain and future pain. Always consult your doctor before beginning exercises to prevent ankle pain.


A single-leg balance exercise can help to improve your balance and reduce your risk of rolling or spraining your ankle. If need be, stand holding onto the back of a chair or countertop until your balance improves. You also can hold your arms out at your side for balance. Slowly bend your knee on one leg so that the bottom of your leg is off the ground and bent at a 90-degree angle. Balance on your other foot for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat five times. Complete another set of five repetitions for your other ankle. You can invest in a wobble board at a local supporting good store. This can be used to help you increase your balance when balancing on an uneven surface.

Ankle Range of Motion

Increasing the range of motion in your ankle can help to prevent ankle pain during exercise or daily activities. Sit on your bed with your foot and ankle hanging off the edge. Make circles with your foot by turning your ankle. Start with small circles and increase to larger circles. Make circles clockwise for 15 seconds and counterclockwise for another 15 seconds. The only motion occurring in your foot should be at your ankle joint. Repeat this exercise again with your other ankle.

Calf Raises

A calf raise can help strengthen the ankle and your calf muscle, which is connected to your ankle and heel bone. Stand with your hands on the back of a chair or on a countertop. Your back should be straight and your feet planted firmly on the floor about hip-width apart. Slowly raise up on to your toes and the balls of your feet. You should feel a stretch in the back of your ankle and in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat 10 times. For an added challenge, complete calf raises on a single leg.

Assisted Ankle Stretch

An assisted ankle stretch provides increased flexibility in your ankle. Sit up straight in a chair with your left foot planted on the ground. Cross your right leg so that your ankle is approximately 2 inches off of your left thigh. Using your left hand to grasp the toes of this foot, slowly pull your ankle toward you. When you feel a stretch in the front of your ankle, hold this position for 15 seconds. Relax and repeat five times. Rest for one minute, switch positions and do the same set with the other ankle.