Best 5 Exercises to Reduce Ankle Pronation
The ankle is a joint that connects the leg to the foot. It is made up of three bones: the tibia, fibula, and talus. These bones are held together by strong ligaments and tendons, which help to stabilise the joint and allow for movement. The ankle joint is designed to allow the foot to move up and down, as well as side to side.
The first thing to discuss is terminology. Ankle pronation is actually very normal, and should occur to some extent during a gait cycle. However, in this article, we’ll really consider “over-pronation” and consider that while ankle pronation is normal, being over-pronated could be a problem.
Ankle pronation occurs when the foot rolls inward and the arch of the foot drops down. If this occurs outside of the normal gait pattern, then the cause can be from genetics, weak ankle muscles, or wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support. Over time, ankle over-pronation can lead to a variety of problems, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and knee pain.
The best treatment for ankle pronation depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, wearing supportive shoes with good arch support can help to alleviate symptoms. Strengthening exercises for the ankle, such as calf raises and ankle rolls, can also be helpful in preventing further pronation.
In more severe cases, a podiatrist or physiotherapist may recommend orthotics or braces to provide additional support to the ankle. These devices are custom-made to fit the individual's foot and provide the necessary support to prevent excessive pronation. We sit on the fence on the benefits of orthotics – sometimes they are useful, but they can be problematic too. We always first opt to restore strength in the arch naturally.
In very rare some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct ankle pronation. This is typically only recommended in cases where other treatments have been unsuccessful, and the condition is causing significant pain and discomfort. In 20 years of clinical practice, I’ve never seen surgery for this occur.
At Surrey Physio we can help you to manage ankle pronation. We use various techniques such as manual therapy to improve any joint or ankle stiffens, and exercise prescription to help build strength into the ankle and foot. Why not visit one of our experienced physiotherapists or osteopaths today.
In the meantime, please try our top 5 exercises for ankle pronation.
How to walk on the outside of your feet
Walk on the outside of your feet. You can wear trainers to start with and progress to bare foot. Be careful not to lose balance, so proceed slowly. This is a great exercise to help train the arch of your foot, and to build muscle and ligament strength around your foot and ankle.
How to strengthen your ankle ligaments
Tie an exercise band around a stable object. Wrap the other end around the inside of your foot. Move your foot inwards and upwards against the resistance of the band. This is a strengthening exercise for the ankle. Repeat 15 repetitions.
Heel Raises Standing with Support
Stand upright with good posture. Hold on to a wall, rail or table for support. Slowly raise up onto your toes, and control the movement back down. This exercise will strengthen the calf muscles and ankle joints. Repeat 10-15 repetitions.
Tip toe walking
Walk on tip toes. Start by doing it in trainers, but when you get more confident do it in bare feet. It’s a fantastic foot, ankle and leg strengthening exercise to the ligaments and muscles. It also helps improve balance. Perform for one minute.
How to Strengthen your Plantar Fascia
In sitting, lift your heels on to the balls of your feet or your toes. Press your heels against each other. You will feel a contraction in the soles of your feet, used as a strengthening exercise to the plantar fascia and intrinsic foot muscles. Hold for 15 seconds, and repeat three times.
Ankle pronation is rarely painful, but can lead to issues in the foot, ankle and knee, and there are a variety of treatment options available. If you are experiencing ankle pain or notice that your foot is rolling inward, it is important to see us in clinic to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. With the right care, we can help you prevent further damage and get back to your normal activities.
(Therapists reading this page, these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises www.rehabmypatient.com. If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).