By Coast Performance Rehab Clinic

Ankle mobility exercises for runners

As a runner, each foot hits the ground between 80-100 times a minute. So whether you are novice or experienced, fast or slow, all runners need to keep their feet and ankles healthy.

At COAST, we believe that mobility and strength are key components to building a strong and resilient body. Mobility is especially important for any repetitive movement because it helps to maintain a full range of motion which would otherwise be significantly limited. This helps to prevent injuries and allows for greater strength along a larger spectrum of movement.

Here are four essential foot and ankle mobility exercises for runners.

Plantar Fascia Release

  1. Start by placing the ball under the arch of the foot
  2. Roll the ball from front to back
  3. Next move the ball to your forefoot
  4. Roll the ball from left to right
  5. Only apply as much pressure as you can comfortably tolerate
  6. Repeat on the other foot

Calf Foam Rolling

  1. Place a foam roller under your lower leg, just above your ankle
  2. Slowly roll the roller back and forth along the back of your leg
  3. Gradually moving up to the base of your calf
  4. You can control the pressure by keeping one leg on the ground for support
  5. Repeat on the other leg

Ankle Pumps

This mobility exercise helps to encourage full dorsiflexion and plantarflexion of the foot. The up and down movement of the foot uses the ankle and calf muscles. The key to this exercise is actually the alignment of the knees and hips. Don’t let your knees cave in and really try to prevent any sway in the hips. You should also maintain a slight bend in your knees at all times.

  1. Stand on a step and use the railing or wall for support.
  2. Make sure you’re on the balls of your feet with your heels hanging over the edge.
  3. With your knees slightly bent, slowly pedal one heel at a time towards the ground and back up.
  4. Alternate back and forth between the left and right foot to create a fluid movement.

Ankle Twists

Another ankle mobility exercise that targets the inversion and eversion of the foot, which are the side-to-side movements. This is important for ankle stability and accessing that full range of motion throughout the ankle and foot region for greater power and less injuries.

The key to this exercise is that the movement should come from the shins and not the heels. There should also be minimal movement in the hips.

  1. Stand on a step and use the railing or wall for support
  2. The balls of your feet with your heels hanging over the edge.
  3. As you really press down through your feet, begin to move your knees from side to side.
  4. Really focus on the movement coming from your shins as your feet are firmly planted.

Book an appointment with a COAST Rehab Specialist today!