How to strengthen ankles for running

How to strengthen ankles for running - main image

Using ankle strengthening exercises to help with ankle stability and risk reduction

Weak ankles – they’re one of the worst areas to fall down on, literally. The pain can be excruciating if you go over your ankle mid-run, not to mention the slow-burning effects of strain over time. Ankle strength is obviously necessary, for the majority of athletic movements. Ankle pain, therefore, is one major hurdle disrupting a lot of that athleticism.

From standing on one leg in a standing position for a minute to simply rotating your ankle with ease, there are a lot of ways to test that ankle of yours. Ankle injuries come from many different places, so it’s important to know the risks before they crop up, helping you to plan your movements around potential hazards… instead of tripping over them head first.

Thankfully, because we’re looking to strengthen our ankles, we can worry less about those hazards and work out worry-free.

Warming up

You need to complete a warm-up before every workout. It’s vital you use dynamic stretches to release tension and prepare for rigorous movements. If you don’t, a sudden jolt in the wrong place can give you more than muscle stiffness.

An ankle joint can be warmed up in many ways but rolling, calf raises, and heel dips can be great too. Always work on ankle mobility even out of workout mode – you want your ankles to be strong, then make sure to work just as sturdily.


If warming up isn’t enough and pain still resides, then you can get great gear to increase running performance relative to ankle weakness. Certain shoes are brilliant for injury prevention (especially great for long-distance runners) and help to keep strain off of the ankle, thus removing weakening forces.

Runners strengthen their game in a holistic sense, not just with certain exercises or routines but through incorporating everything possible to boost potential and performance.

Foam roller

Toe walks, calf muscles, heel walks – all of these can be done with the foam roller in mind. Shin splints, for example, are common problems, especially among beginner runners. A foam roller can help to relieve tension and relax the problem areas – but they’re great for ankle rolling, too (check out some videos online).

Exercise example – Plantar Flexion Stretch

Run To The Finish describes a great exercise that’ll allow you to switch legs in a workout with ease, and help with left leg issues and right foot issues alike.

Give it a go.

”Plantar flexion involves pointing your feet away from your body. Clear examples of using this movement are pressing the accelerator pedal of your car and standing on tiptoes.

This stretch will help with the flexibility and strength of your ankles.

  • Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Point one foot away from you, and hold it.
  • After 10-15 seconds, stop.
  • Try the same thing with the other foot.”


Do more research to find more ways to strengthen your ankle.


Can a single leg balance be dangerous?

Absolutely; any exercise can be dangerous if done improperly. Do the right thing and be safe.

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