Isotonic Ankle Strengthening
Isotonic strengthening occurs when a fixed weight, such as a dumbbell or a resistance band, is carried through the full range of motion of a particular joint. Isotonic exercises are dynamic movements and are a significant part of any strength training program. Since the ankle joint has four primary movements, isotonic strengthening can take place through dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion and eversion.
Sit on the floor or a mat with your feet together and knees bent to 90 degrees. Place a 2- to 5-pound weight on the laces of your running shoes. Lift all your toes together toward your knees. Pause for one second and slowly lower both your feet. Complete eight to 12 repetitions. This type of exercise strengthens the muscles and tendons on top of the foot and at the front of your lower leg. Dorsiflexion exercises improve your ability to lift your toes when walking or running.
To strengthen the muscles and tendons of the underfoot and the back of the lower leg, sit on the floor. Stretch both your legs straight out in front of you. Use a resistance band to create the tension. Holding the two ends of the band in each of your hands, loop the band around the ball of your right foot. To increase the resistance, pull the ends toward your body. To decrease the resistance of the band, hold the ends closer to your foot. Once the appropriate tension is added, point your toes toward the floor. Slowly lift the foot back to the starting position. Complete eight to 12 repetitions.
Strap an ankle weight that is approximately 2 to 5 pounds around your ankle. Beginning in a side-lying position, move your bottom leg in front of your top leg. Curl your bottom ankle toward the ceiling and allow it to return to the ground. Complete eight to 12 repetitions. Inversion exercises target the muscles along the inner side of your lower leg as well as the tendons along the inner foot.
With a cable machine, lower a pulley to the bottom notch and connect an ankle strap to the clip. To begin, set the weight on the cable machine to between 5 and 10 pounds. Wrap the ankle strap around your right ankle and side step from the cable about three steps. Keep the cable tight. In a controlled manner, rotate your right ankle outward and back. Complete eight to 12 repetitions. The eversion exercise will strengthen the muscles of the outer lower leg, as well as the tendons of the outer foot.
- The Pain Clinic Manual; Stephen E. Abram et al.
- Trail Guide to the Body; Andrew Biel, LMP
Erika McAuley is a freelance writer from Abbotsford, British Columbia. As an exercise rehabilitation professional, she has been preventing and treating musculoskeletal injuries in athletes and civil workers since 2008. McAuley holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics in athletic therapy from Trinity Western University and an Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy from Mount Royal University.