If you consider how much weight your ankles support daily, it’s pretty clear that this lower-body joint is an important one. So it’s crucial to make sure you practice healthy ankle care by doing things like wearing supportive footwear (read: see you later, hiking flip-flops, and sorry, but high heels don’t make the cut, either) and sitting properly without your feet crossed (which may lead to stiffness).1, 2
If you’re feeling ankle pain due to arthritis, consider using Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel. It has a triple effect of relieving the pain of arthritis, improving mobility, and reducing stiffness. But keeping your ankles conditioned to movement is also a key component to minimizing pain, especially from ankle arthritis overall. The best way to do that? By strengthening the muscles around the ankle. “We use these muscles as shock absorbers—they are responsible for taking on the load of our body as we step, or run, or go down a flight a stairs,” says Blake Dircksen, PT, DPT, CSCS, orthopedic physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy & Fitness in New York City. “The stronger these muscles are, the more we’re able to attenuate that load and take it off of the ankle joint.”
In order to help strengthen these muscles, Dircksen shared some ankle exercises to try. Add these into your daily routine to help ease ankle arthritis pain.
“[NOTE: Before trying any exercise, consult with your health care provider to be sure these movements are safe for you.]
1. Write the ABCs
Sitting or standing in a comfortable position, pick foot up off the ground and trace letters of the ABCs with ankle. Complete the alphabet, then switch legs and repeat with the other ankle.
2. Calf Raise
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Using a table, wall, or other solid anchor for balance support if needed, slowly raise up onto toes. Hold for three seconds, then slowly lower. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
3. Flex Ankle
Sit in a comfortable position with legs extended in front of you or hanging off of a chair or table. Slowly lift toes towards face to flex ankles. Flex as far as possible and hold for two to three seconds. Then extend ankle, pushing toes away from face. Extend as far as possible and hold for two to three seconds. Continue for 10 to 12 repetitions.
By adding these exercises into your regimen, over time you’ll help strengthen your ankles and minimize any discomfort or pain.