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Causes of Weak Ankles, its Effect & Exercises to Strengthen the Ankles

Weak ankles can result from various causes such as injuries, aging of joint, excessive pressure and genetic issues. These causes can range from various conditions like arthritis to poor arch support. It is important to understand the main causes of weak ankles and the exercises to strengthen ankles to help manage this condition.

Causes of Weak Ankles

Causes of Weak Ankles

Weakness in ankles and its increased proneness to injuries and physical damage can result from various causes. From mechanical factors to conditions that affect the health can contribute to the degradation in the strength of your ankles and cause weak ankles.

Here are some of the causes of weak ankles:

  • Injuries: Ankle injuries are one of the commonest causes of weakness in ankles. Injuries suffered by the ankles can often weaken them for some time or until they get a chance to recover. Ankle injuries can occur if the ankle is twisted or bent forcefully and suddenly. Common injuries like fractures, sprains or other soft tissue injuries can make the ankles significantly weaker.
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is one of the most common conditions that affect the bones, and can be an important cause of weak ankles. Osteoarthritis is progressive, and causes the cartilage to break down, resulting in weakening of ankles.
  • Diabetes: Conditions like diabetes can also play a role in weakening the ankles. Diabetes has an inability to process and break sugar down in the body, which results in significant loss in circulation and strength in the ankles, causing them to become weak and vulnerable to damage.
  • Poor Arch Support: Poor arch support from the feet can cause pain, damage, and weakness in the ankles. If the natural curve of the foot fails to offer an arch for support, feet tend to bend inward, causing discomfort and pain in ankles. Poor arch support or other deformities of the foot are one of the most common causes of weak ankles. They also affect the overall stability of the ankle joint, making ankles weak and more prone to injuries.

Effects of Weak Ankles

Weakness in ankles can cause a number of issues, such as increased risk of injuries, restrictions or difficulties in performing daily activities, including running, jumping, or any other activities that may strain the ankles. Weakness in ankles can also result in other forms of injuries, like swelling and redness around them. Standing without support for long periods of time can also become challenging.

  • Pain in and around the ankle region is a common complaint of weak ankles.
  • Redness and swelling around the ankle area may also be seen in some cases.
  • Weak ankles often cause difficulty in walking, jumping, dancing or even when standing for a long period.
  • Weakness in the ankles can also result in muscle contractures and muscle weakness.
  • Sometimes, weak ankles can also cause bone deformities, increased friction in some area and joints of the foot and can also result in blisters, calluses, and abrasions.

Considering the effects of weak ankles on daily activities, it is important to know the exercises that can help to strengthen the ankles. Some therapeutic ankle strengthening exercises can significantly improve the health and strength of your ankles.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Ankles

A number of strengthening exercises can help you counter the weakness in your ankles, and significantly improve the condition. These exercises when done regularly can help to build the strength in the muscles, ligaments and other supporting structures of the ankles, which can improve the stability and function of the ankle joint.

The following are some useful exercises that can help you strengthen your ankles.

  • Stretching Exercise to Strengthen the Ankles: Perform a stretching exercise by sitting in a chair with a small towel placed on the floor in front of you. Pick these up with the toes of one of your feet and move them around 12 inches away. Switch feet after a while and repeat.
  • Balance Exercise for Ankles: Balance yourself on one leg on a folded towel for half-a-minute and try not to fall. Do this at least thrice on each foot and repeat once in a while.
  • Ankle Raise Exercise to Strengthen the Weak Ankles: Stand straight and slowly lift your heels and stand on the toes. Make sure that they go as high as you can possibly get them to. Maintain this position for a few seconds, and come back to a normal position. Repeat as long as is comfortable and seemingly necessary. You can also hold onto weights to maximize the effects.
  • Ankle Strengthening Exercise on Stairs: Stand on the edge of a step of a staircase, and let the ball of your feet hang from the edge. Hold this position as long as it is comfortable for you, but at least for a minute. Turn around, and let the heel of your feet hang from the edge. Hold the position for a while this time as well. Make sure this exercise is performed carefully and on the lowest step to avoid falling.
  • Ankle Strengthening Exercise Using a Resistance Band: Use a resistance band around the lower side of your foot and try to stretch it while holding one end in your hand. Repeat this at least 10 times with each foot. Once done, tie one of the ends around a fixed object and pull it towards yourself with one of your feet. Repeat in a similar manner.
  • Place the inner side of your ankle against a fixed body, and hold it in this position for a while. Repeat this with the other ankle as well. Then place the other side of your ankle against a fixed object and repeat with the other ankle. Perform this exercise regularly for it to show some effect.

These ankle strengthening exercises should be performed regularly to improve the ankle strength and condition. You can also incorporate variations in these exercises to make them more comfortable, easier, or effective for yourself. For any specific concerns or variations, an opinion from an expert may be taken, but for most cases of weak ankles, these exercises can be very useful.


  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2020). Achilles Tendinitis https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/achilles-tendinitis
  2. The University of Michigan. (n.d.). Achilles Tendinitis https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/abo4001

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 9, 2023

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