Exercises for Ankle Arthritis

Exercises for Ankle Arthritis: Effective 7 Exercises

If you perform daily strengthening and stretching exercises for ankle arthritis, it will help to reduce your ankle pain. Exercise of your ankle joint will help to improve blood flow, which promotes the destruct cartilages health. They also reduce local swelling, make tissues more flexible, and do much more. Ultimately, these benefits mean you can expect fewer flare-ups and less ankle pain from daily activities. In this content, we will describe the exercises for Ankle Arthritis. Keep reading till the end to know about this!

Can Physical Therapy help for Ankle Arthritis?

You know, exercise is a significant part of physical therapy or physiotherapy. An expert physiotherapist may help you to choose the right exercises for your disease or condition. But at first, the question that comes to mind is, can physiotherapy help for any kind of arthritis? And why should you go to a physiotherapy doctor? So before going to know the specific exercises for ankle arthritis, we will know the reality of these questions.

Yes! Physiotherapy helps with ankle arthritis. When someone has ankle arthritis, the main goals of physiotherapy are to improve muscle strength, lessen stiffness, and lessen pain. By increasing the muscle’s strength, they will be able to protect the joint by putting less stress on it. Restricting and pain can be avoided by keeping the joint flexible and able to move.

A physical therapist can use a wide variety of equipment to help reduce pain and swelling in the affected joint. When the ankle isn’t stable, the tendons are strengthened, and proprioception exercises are done to fix it. Through a unique ankle rehabilitation protocol, we described some exercises used worldwide to improve ankle balance and stability.

Related Articles
Achilles Tendonitis Rehab Protocol

Living with Ankle Arthritis: Is it possible?

Though it’s challenging to live with ankle arthritis, if you follow our guidelines, you may live a better life. But we suggest you go to a physiotherapy doctor for a better suggestion.

Though it’s challenging to live with ankle arthritis, if you follow our guidelines, you may live a better life. It contains very easy things you can do on your own to make ankle arthritis less.

But it’s important to know that only some tips may help you with ankle arthritis and that these steps are not a replacement for seeing a doctor or physiotherapist. Even if they help a little, there may be better ways to help you in your situation and meet your needs.

Choose your shoes with care

Cheap shoes that don’t offer much cushioning or support will likely cause your feet to get stressed and worn out faster.

Look for a shoe with a wide, solid sole, enough room for your toes to move around without feeling cramped, and a back that cups your heel and keeps it from sliding around too much.

Please avoid high heels because they will put more pressure on the front of your feet and toes. But wearing completely flat shoes that don’t offer much arch support and shock absorption can also be bad.

Give your toes a little more padding

If you have arthritis in your toes, small gel or fabric sleeves can help give the joints more support, cushioning, and protection. Taking away some of the extra pressure can help reduce pain, friction, and irritation.

If you have hammertoes, special cushioning like a Crest pad can help keep your toes in place and give your arthritic joints more support.

Include stretching in your day

With the right stretching routines, you can keep your arthritic joints comfortable, flexible, strong, and able to move in a wide range. You can also strengthen the tendons, muscles, and other tissues that connect these joints, so they don’t have to work as hard.

Talk to a physiotherapy doctor about what exercises would help your condition the most, but it’s sometimes a good idea to do exercises that work your whole range of motion. A small amount of effort every day can help a lot with joint pain, stiffness, and locking.

Use medicines to help

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is safe and can be bought over the counter may help reduce pain and swelling in the joints. Some people find creams, ointments, or gels containing capsaicin helpful.

No matter what kind of medicine you take, you should always follow the directions and make sure it doesn’t interact with other medicines you may be taking. If you have any questions or concerns, your primary care doctor or we can help.

What Exercises are Best for Arthritis in Ankle?

Starting an exercise program can be challenging, and if you’ve never done ankle exercises before, you may need to start slowly and develop your strength and flexibility over time.

At first, try to do the exercises slowly and increase your range of motion. Maximum time, it happens when the person is sitting or lying down. As your strength grows, you can move on to exercises that make you hold your weight, like calf raises or toe raises.

When you first start, do five to eight reps of each exercise daily. Over a few weeks, you can do an extra set of each exercise, two sets of 10 reps.

If you work out every day for about a month, you should be able to do two sets of 15 ankle arthritis exercises. As a maintenance plan, ankle exercises can be done three to five times weekly.

Toe Flexion

This is a primary exercise for the foot and ankle since arthritis can make the whole area stiff. Any exercise that gets your blood moving can help a lot.

To perform this exercise-

  • You should start by extended sitting on the floor or in a chair.
  • Position your foot so your heels are resting on the ground and your toes are free to move.
  • Then, alternate between bending and stretching your toes as far as you feel comfortable.

Repeat for 15 repetitions, completing 2-3 sets total

Ankle Rotation

To perform ankle rotation exercises-

  • You should have sat in a chair, then lift your painful ankle.
  • Turn your ankle gently clockwise for a few seconds, and then turn it counterclockwise for a few seconds.

If one direction hurts more, try going in another direction that hurts less before going in the direction that hurts more.

You should feel slight pulling around your ankle joint when doing the rotations. Crepitus, or a grinding feeling, may be felt when ankle arthritis is very bad. This shouldn’t hurt, and if it does, you should stop.

Ankle Pumps

Ankle pumps can help you move your ankle joint in more ways.

To perform ankle pump exercises-

  • Sit in a chair or sit on a flat surface and lift one foot off the ground just a little bit (If sit on a chair).
  • Point your toes away from your ankle. Hold for 5–10 seconds. 
  • Pull your toes toward your ankle. Hold for 5–10 seconds.

When you point your toes away, you should feel a slight pull in the front of your ankle and lower leg. When you pull your toes up, you should feel a tightness in the back of your lower leg, in your calf.

Ankle Alphabet

To perform ankle alphabet exercises-

  • Sit in a chair and put your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift the foot that hurts just a little bit off the floor and use your toes to trace the letters of the alphabet in the air.

If this exercise gets easy, you can do the alphabet from A to Z and then from Z to A to help your ankle get stronger. Change the order of the letters and draw them in cursive to make the game even harder. You can follow the video also to perform this exercise!

Calf Raises

When you have arthritis in your ankles, calf raises are excellent exercise.

To perform calf exercises-

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on the back of a firm chair.
  • Lift your heels and rise onto your toes.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, and slowly lower your foot until the whole thing is back on the floor.

Be sure to move slowly and steadily. Your calf muscles should feel tight behind your lower legs.

After doing this exercise for a few weeks, it might get easier. You can do it with only one foot to make the calf raise more difficult.

Toe Raises

To carry out this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a chair’s back for balance.
  • Lift your toes off the floor while maintaining your heels on the ground.
  • Hold this stance for 5 seconds before returning to the ground on your toes.

Move slowly, and you should feel the tension in the front of your lower thigh muscles. Performing this exercise on one leg makes it more difficult.

Calf Massage

There are several choices for massaging the calf here. With ankle arthritis, this big muscle group can quickly become stiff.

  • For this exercise, grab a muscle roller stick.
  • Sit in a chair that is comfortable for you.
  • Place the roller below your calf’s knee, keeping it horizontal to the ground.
  • Push into your calf with both hands as you slowly roll up and down the entire muscle between the knee and ankle.
  • Roll the muscles up and down for up to 5 minutes to gain relief.
  • A foam roller or your hands are two other choices for calf massage.

Final Words

Conservative approaches with exercises are always preferable for treating ankle arthritis and reducing (or preventing) the condition’s progression. Custom orthotics can offer precise cushioning and support precisely where you need them to relieve strain on sensitive joints. However, surgery may be the only way to provide significant or long-term relief in some circumstances.



"Hasan", I am a physiotherapy Doctor. I have completed my B.S.c course (4 years) under Rajshahi University, Faculty of Medicine, Rajshahi. Currently I am working as a clinical physiotherapist at a renowned physiotherapy center and I am continuing my MPT (Master's of physiotherapy) degree at CRP, Savar.

View all posts by MAHMUDUL HASAN →

One thought on “Exercises for Ankle Arthritis: Effective 7 Exercises

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *