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Does walking strengthen weak feet and ankles?

Enna10Enna10 Posts: 14Member Member Posts: 14Member Member
Hello, I've recently taken up hiking with my husband and sometimes find my ankle giving way, especially on uneven ground. Fortunately I have good walking boots which give great ankle support so my foot does not roll over.
I tried doing some feet/ankle exercises I found online and realised how weak I am in that area.
I am losing weight and am walking now each day (usually a brisk 5km walk) will that be enough to strengthen my feet and ankles over time or should I do some specific exercise?


  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 8,194Member Member Posts: 8,194Member Member
    If you mean will you adapt to hiking by performing more hiking, yes if you manage your load well.

    A brisk 5k walk would help your cardiovascular system.

    Walking on flat ground isn't very specific to the uneven terrain you described.
    edited March 25
  • cmriversidecmriverside Posts: 29,857Member Member Posts: 29,857Member Member
    If it were me I would start walking on flat uneven terrain as much as possible, instead of jumping right into hiking. Right now is not the time to get injured and have to use medical care.

    I would walk around school yards - they are closed right now and it's a great time to make use of their fields and grounds. Just walking on grass is good for strengthening legs, ankles. Find parks and stretches of grass or sand like golf courses or beaches.
    edited March 25
  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 11,058Member Member Posts: 11,058Member Member
    It’s normal for you ankle to possibly turn when Walking in rocky uneven paths. I think you want to strengthen and stabilize your entire leg, not just feet and ankles. Squats and one legged squats (if you can do them, or with support) or even one legged dead lifts and yoga will help with balance and stability. Have fun on your hikes!
  • CherimooseCherimoose Posts: 5,095Member Member Posts: 5,095Member Member
    A good exercise is jumping in place, as if you're jumping rope, because it works on foot quickness, not just strength. If that's too jarring, search youtube for "calf raises". Start with a set of around 10 reps every other day, and add a set every 2 workouts until you're up to 3-4 sets. To increase difficultly, do it on 1 leg, or hold a weight.

    Also, be more attentive to the terrain and your positioning, don't get lost in conversation or music. :+1:
  • snowflake954snowflake954 Posts: 4,602Member Member Posts: 4,602Member Member
    During our yoga session, the instructor has us lay on our backs, grab our knees and do circles with our feet (just the feet)--first one direction, then the other. We then do knee circles too. Another thing we do is stand on one foot for balance. I can just feel the small ligaments in my ankles working. All these exercises help with stability.
  • LietchiLietchi Posts: 419Member Member Posts: 419Member Member
    I've been jogging and walking pretty intensely for over 6 months, on the treadmill and in the street.
    But when I went for a 2h walk along some uneven walking trails last weekend, I was quite sore and stiff in my lower legs the next day.
    So just walking won't strengthen your feet and ankles that much, I think. As others have said, doing specific exercises and walking on more uneven ground is definitely a good idea.
  • yirarayirara Posts: 4,383Member Member Posts: 4,383Member Member
    I have hypermobile ankles, and my feet are just not very well put together. I still have very strong, actually muscular feet. I can stand for a whole concert on my toes (well, the area just behind the toes obviously) and if I concentrate do some parkour or jump from rock to rock. If I don't pay attention then I might just sprain an ankle over a tiny twig or pebble on the road though. And my gait is actually more stable in shoes that don't cover the ankles and that have a thinnish sole. The latter for feeling the ground and reacting to unevenness, and the former because lots of other muscles seem to have taken over the function of keeping me upright. If I can't move those muscles too well then I stand/walk less stable.
  • yirarayirara Posts: 4,383Member Member Posts: 4,383Member Member
    So I don't know what I'm doing that gives me strong feet. But I guess it helps that I never wear shoes at home with an actual sole. I wear house shoes/socks with a sock-thin fabric base, or barefoot. I prefer shoes with thin soles anyway. I never wear heels as they weaken feet. Basically I give my feet a workout without thinking about it.

    As I'm currently working from home I try to get some movement in. Every time I get up to get a cup of tea I walk 300 steps through my livingroom/kitchen while the kettle does it's thing, basically on socks as I don't want to annoy the people below me. Today I've tried to do this every hour to colour the hourly dots on my fitbit. I do some of those on my toes (thanks for the inspiration here!). I also walk to the paper recycling bin every day lunchtime to get a bit of fresh air and bag another 1500-2000 steps. I also put a massage ball and a piece of wood underneath my desk and let my feet play with those while I'm working. Hey, can't do that at the office, right?
    edited March 25
  • TerythaTerytha Posts: 1,487Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,487Member, Premium Member
    The exercise I did in physio for my ankle bursitis might help.

    Get a fluffy pillow.

    Fold it in half.

    Stand on it on one foot and balance for 30 seconds to a minute. (Have a wall or chair nearby so you don't fall.)

    I also really like balance boards. Great for ankle stability and muscle building.
  • jayhschmidtjayhschmidt Posts: 19Member Member Posts: 19Member Member
    If you're overweight, use trekking poles. Mobilize every day and stretch several times per week
  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 11,058Member Member Posts: 11,058Member Member
    If you're overweight, use trekking poles. Mobilize every day and stretch several times per week

    Trekking poles are great for everyone, even highly fit experienced hikers. It's a great tool!
  • Enna10Enna10 Posts: 14Member Member Posts: 14Member Member
    Thank you for all your help, some useful suggestions here.
    The hiking is on hold till the restrictions on going out ease but I can still go for a daily walk and with some of the above exercises I hopefully will notice a difference when we start up again.
    Thanks again
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