The Right Exercises Can Help Your Ankle Arthritis

Ankle InjuryDenver-area residents raised over $90,000 at the Jingle Bell Run/Walk in December 2014. That’s a lot of money for arthritis research and educational programs! If you missed it, you’ll have another chance to support the work at the Walk to Cure Arthritis in May 2015. Though you might think otherwise, moving your painful joints can actually benefit ankle arthritis, whether from osteoarthritis or the rheumatoid version. In fact, exercising with arthritis is one of the best ways to relieve symptoms of the condition.

Generally, range-of-motion exercises keep the joint from stiffening up, reduce swelling, and alleviate some of your pain. Of course, not all exercise is good, especially if you have rheumatoid arthritis. High impact movements like running, jumping, quick directions changes, and stops and starts can further damage inflamed joints. Instead, do some of the following movements to keep your joints functioning:

  • Sit with good back support and lift and hold your legs straight in front of you. Then gently circle your ankles 360 degrees, starting towards your right, 10 times. Lower your legs and relax, then lift them again and repeat, starting towards your left.

  • Still sitting, place your bare feet on a towel on the floor in front of you. Keeping your heels on the floor at all times, start arching your foot and curling your toes to pull the front part of the towel under your feet, 10 seconds at a time, with 5 seconds of rest between. Once the towel is completely under your feet, you can reverse the process, pushing the towel back out in front of you in 10-second increments.

  • Isometric exercises contract and hold your muscles for short periods to gradually strengthen them. For example, while seated with your feet on the floor, lift one foot and place it over the other ankle, then press down gently for 10 seconds, relax 5 seconds, and repeat this 10 times. This stretches the bottom of your foot. Then, in the same position, push up gently with the bottom foot in the same way.

Call Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center in Lakewood, CO, at (303) 423-2520 for more tips on exercising with arthritis, or to set up an appointment for treatment of your ankle arthritis pain. We don’t want it to keep you from living a full and active life!

Photo credit: samarttiw via

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