Dr. Kevin Yip

Dr Kevin Yip
Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS(UK), FRCS(EDIN), FAM(SING), FHKCOS(ORTHO)

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Ankle

The biomechanics of the ankle and foot are important for the normal function of the lower extremity. The foot is the terminal joint in the lower kinetic chain.

Range-of-motion exercises

Ankle dorsiflexion/plantar flexion

Sitting with your legs out straight, pull your whole foot and ankle up towards you as far as possible, keeping your knee straight. Hold for 5 seconds, then push your foot and ankle away from you as far as possible.
Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat.

Ankle inversion/eversion

Sitting with your legs out straight, turn the sole of your foot inwards as far as possible. Be sure that the motion is coming from your foot and that your whole leg is not rotating. Hold for 5 seconds, then turn the sole of your foot outwards as far as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat.

Ankle circles

Sitting with your legs out straight, turn your involved foot in small circles clockwise. Repeat counterclockwise. Start with small circles, then gradually increase the size of the circle. Repeat 10 times each way.

Ankle strengthening

Towel curls (toe and foot flexors, extensors)

In a seated position, spread a towel out on the floor in front of you. Place the heel of the involved foot on the towel. Try to curl the towel up using your toes, keeping the rest of your foot still. Progress by placing a small weight or book on the end of the towel for more resistance. Repeat 5–10 times.

Towel inversion/eversion (ankle and foot inverters/everters)

From a seated position, spread a towel out to the side of the involved foot. Place the heel of the foot on the end of the towel and rotate your foot inwards, pulling the towel with your toes and foot. Repeat until you reach the end of the towel. Spread it back out and repeat 5–10 times. Repeat the above exercise with the towel spread to the inside of the involved ankle, and rotate the foot outwards, pulling on the towel. Repeat 5–10 times.

Heel raise (gastrocnemius, soleus)

Stand with equal weight on both feet. Slowly rise up on your toes as far as possible, then lower. Repeat 10–15 times. Progress to standing on your involved leg only and repeat the exercise. This may also be done with the heels hanging off the edge of a step for additional range of motion.

Toe raise (ankle dorsiflexors)

Stand with equal weight on both feet. Lift your toes and the front of your foot off the floor, keeping your heels in contact with the floor. Slowly lower. Repeat 10–15 times..

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