Ankle Inversion & Eversion Exercises

Doctor examining her patient foot
Physical therapist working with patient doing ankle exercises. (Image: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images)

Injuries to the ankle are extremely common and can often leave lingering weakness. Injuries such as sprains and strains often affect the ligaments and tendons that run along the sides of the foot. These ligaments and tendons are responsible for range of motion and stability of the ankle. Eversion and inversion exercises can help regain movement and stability after an injury.

Isometric

Isometric eversion involves the use of a stable surface such as a table leg or door frame. To perform this exercise place the outside of the foot against the surface. Push the foot outward, into the door frame or leg for two to three seconds. Release this exercise and then repeat several times. Isometric inversion is very similar to isometric eversion. Place the inside of the foot against the surface and press inward, holding for two to three seconds. Release and then repeat several times.

Exercise Bands

Exercise bands can add resistance to eversion and inversion exercises for the ankle. To perform these exercises, begin with your leg extended in front of you. Tie a loop in an exercise band and secure the other end of the band to a stable surface, such as a table leg. Slide your foot into the loop so it rests around the ball of your foot. Rotate just the foot to the outside to perform eversion, taking care not to rotate the leg as you do so. To perform inversion you do the same exercise, only rotating the foot inward. Move the resistance band to the other side of the table leg or support, place your foot in the loop and rotate only your foot to the inside.

Free Exercise

Inversion and eversion of the ankle can be performed without added resistance. This is considered free inversion and eversion exercises. This type of ankle exercise is generally used as a first step exercise after injury. To perform this exercise begin by assuming a seated position. Place feet flat on the floor in front of you. Slowly rotate the foot outward for eversion and inward for inversion. Keep the heel firmly planted while performing rotation in order to keep the leg from rotating also. This will target the ankle alone, not the entire leg.

Ankle Circles

Ankle circles are an important exercise that can help regain full range of motion after an ankle injury. Ankle circles can be performed anywhere without additional equipment. Begin by assuming a seated position. Extend one leg in front of you and move your ankle in complete clockwise circles. Repeat this movement six to eight times, and then repeat with counter-clockwise circles.

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