Exercises for calf and ankle problems

These exercises can help to get you moving normally, and safely, if you've a muscle or joint problem affecting your calf or ankle.

These video shows the whole movement so don't worry if you can't do it all.

How many and how often

Start by doing 5 repetitions of each exercise, 3 times a day. Add an extra 1 or 2 repetitions every few days as long as you feel comfortable.

When to stop

Stop these exercises if they make your symptoms worse, or cause new pain.

If your symptoms don't improve after 2 weeks, phone the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Helpline (only available in some health board regions).

If this service isn't available in your area, speak to your GP to find out if you can refer yourself to a local MSK service.

Foot raise (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61tUNfkftT0)

You should do this exercise while sitting down.

With your foot flat on the floor:

  1. Raise the inner border of your foot (big toe) and hold for 2 seconds
  2. Return your foot to the floor
  3. Raise the outer border (little toe) and hold for 2 seconds
  4. Return your foot to the floor

Raising and lowering the inner and outer part of your foot is one repetition.

Ankle bend (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pXtglM5Gpg)

You should do this exercise while sitting or lying down.

With your toes straight out in front of you:

  1. Bend your ankle to point your toes down and hold for 2 seconds
  2. Bend your ankle back and relax

Bending your ankle down and back is one repetition.

Standing calf stretch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7xIKfcSU1M)

You should do this exercise while standing up.

With your feet together, and your body facing a wall:

  1. Lean against it with your arms and back straight
  2. Keeping your heels on the floor, let your body drop towards the wall - you should feel the stretch in your calves
  3. Hold for 2 seconds then push your body away from the wall and relax

Lowering and raising your body from the wall is one repetition.

Ankle stretch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apq-YaR7o6Q)

You should do this exercise while standing up.

With your feet together, and your body facing a wall:

  1. Keeping your heel on the floor, place the foot with the sore calf against the wall
  2. Bring your pelvis forward - you should feel the stretch in your calf
  3. Hold for 2 seconds then push your pelvis away from the wall and relax

Lowering and raising your pelvis from the wall is one repetition.