Exercises

It's important to keep your feet and ankles moving so they stay healthy and strong. The seven exercises below will help stretch and strengthen your feet and ankles. These exercises are not a substitute for professional podiatric or other medical care. Remember to breathe normally and not to bounce during these exercises. If you feel pain while performing these exercises, stop. Please consult your health care provider before beginning this or any other exercise regimen. 

1. Balancing Act

In bare feet, stand up straight, arms out to the side for balance. Lift your right foot up towards your rear, several inches off the ground. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat with the left foot. Try to maintain your balance for longer, adding on a few seconds when you feel comfortable.

- Remember: Do this exercise near a wall or counter, in case you lose your balance. 

2. Ankle Alphabet

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Resting your lower right calf on a thick rolled-up towel, write each letter of the alphabet in the air with your foot. Repeat with your left foot. 

3. Calf Stretch (straight knee) 

Stand facing the wall, about an arm's length away. Place both palms on the wall, then step forward about 12 inches with your right foot. Keeping both heels on the floor, slightly bend your right leg, keeping your left leg straight. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat with your left leg. 

- Remember: Don't arch your back or hunch your shoulders. 

4. Calf Stretch (bent knee) 

Stand facing the wall, about an arm's length away. Place both palms on the wall, then step forward about 12 inches with your right foot. Keeping both heels on the floor, slightly bend both legs. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat with your left leg. 

5. Ankle Push

Sit in a chair near a hard, study surface such as a wall or chair leg. Keeping your heel on the ground, push the outside edge of your right foot against the sturdy surface and hold for 5 seconds. Next, keeping your heel on the ground, push the inside edge of your right foot against the sturdy surface and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat both exercises with your left foot. As you get stronger, try pushing for a few extra seconds. 

- Remember: Don't use your leg to push; only use your foot. 

6. Calf Raise 

Stand, facing a sturdy table or counter for balance, and lift your right foot back, bending your knee to a 90 degree angle. Slowly bring your left heel a few inches off the ground, hold for 1 count, then gently lower your heel back down to the floor. Repeat for a total of 10 of these exercises with your right foot. Repeat with your left foot. 

- Remember: Keep your back straight, and only use the counter for balance. 

7. Seated Calf Raise

Sit barefoot in chair and place your right heel on a dictionary, phone book, or other item (no more than 3 inches thick). Keep your heel on the book and raise the front of your foot up as high as you can, then slowly lower back to the ground. Repeat for a total of 5 of these exercises with your right foot. Repeat with your left foot. 

- Remember: the book or other item you place your heel on should not be more than 3 inches thick.

Jaclyn Visbeen

Dublin

Jaclyn Visbeen is a freelance marketing specialist offering website, branding, photography, copywriting, design, creative direction, campaign, eMarketing, and social media services.

Jaclyn was most recently employed by AUXILIARY Advertising & Design in Grand Rapids, MI as a copywriter. She taught academic writing and communications classes at Dorset College Dublin during the 2014-15 school year and, prior to that, spent four years as the digital marketing manager at Cornerstone University. Along with various other marketing positions, she has also has experience in TV, radio, and print journalism.

Jaclyn is currently living in Dublin, Ireland.

Education:

MSc in Digital Media, Griffith College, Dublin, Ireland

MA in Applied Linguistics, 2013, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI

BA in Broadcast Journalism, 2007, Biola University, Los Angeles, CA