How do I strengthen weak ankles?

People who suffer a sprained ankle or multiple ankle injuries often complain that their ankles feel weak as they try to return to sports or exercise. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I explain why their ankle feel weak and describe a solution to strengthen weak ankles so you can get back to what you want to do.

Lauri asks:

Each time I try to take up running again, I seem to aggravate an old injury from many years ago. Three sports medicine doctors have suggested I try biking instead due to weak ankles. What, if anything, could be done to strengthen weak ankles in order to add a simple running routine with a goal of 5k race training (at my son’s request) in mind?

After an ankle sprain – and especially after someone has had repeated ankle injuries – you can lack balance and proprioception. In layman’s terms, this is sort of a joint position sense. Think of your brain knowing where your ankle is in space so that it can make the stabilizing muscles of the ankle fire when they need to in order to help you land, push off and other movements.

Woman doing physical therapy for weak ankles

 

In the video above, I explain that your balance and proprioception will often return on its own in time. I think it can be really helpful, though, to work with a physical therapist after a sprained ankle. In addition to restoring your ankle motion and strength, the therapist can use sliding boards, bosu balls and other equipment and exercises to help strengthen weak ankles. This work can not only help stabilize the ankle, but it can increase your confidence as you try to return to your sport or desired exercise.

Also read:
What can you do to prevent repeated ankle sprains?
What can be done for multiple sprained ankles?

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, on my website, on my podcast, or in social media. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

I want to help you! Please take a few seconds to share the biggest challenge or struggle you’re facing with your injury! Click here!