High Heel Healers Part II: Ankle mobility exercises

Following on from our last article about pain from high-heeled shoes with these more advanced exercises

Hopefully by now you’ve been alerted to the potential detriment of chronic high heel wear. In addition to the “at work” tips provided in Part I, here is a mobility series that can be performed in your own time.

Exercise 1: Self myofascial release of the calf

Instruction: Most people will identify this exercise with “foam rolling”. I like to consider it more of a “scan” than a roll. Ideally you will slowly move the roller under the calf “scanning” for heightened tension or pressure. When you locate these hypersensitive regions, stop and apply direct and constant pressure until the tension subsides. Continue “scanning” the tissue until you find additional hypersensitive regions and repeat.

Aim to perform 6 passes along the back, inside and outside of the calf as instructed in the video.

Exercise 2: Self myofascial release of the plantar foot

Instruction: In a similar fashion to the calf release, “scan” for areas of heightened tension or hypersensitivity. Once located maintain direct and constant pressure until the tension subsides. You can control the pressure from the tennis ball by altering the amount of body weight you put through your leg.

Aim for 6 passes along the plantar surface of the foot.

Exercise 3: Ankle lunges with powerband

Instruction: This exercise is aimed to account for motion restriction within the fibrous joint capsule of the ankle.

  • Stand in a slight lunge position, with the feet parallel, hip width apart and forward facing
  • Place a small disc weight or book under the forefoot of the front foot.
  • Attach a powerband* around the ankle and affix to a stable object
  • Keeping constant weight through the heel, drive the knee of the front leg over the second toe. At no stage should you allow the knee to migrate to the inside of the second toe.
  • Perform 8–10 controlled repetitions each side.

Exercise  4: Heel drops off step

Instruction: With the forefeet firmly affixed to the top of a step, SLOWLY drop the back of the heel until a notable stretch is felt in the calf. With the assistance of the opposing leg, return the heel to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg with the feet straight, pigeon-toed and duck-footed.

Disclaimer: If any of the provided exercises induce pain it is advised you STOP IMMEDIATELY and not repeat. In the presence of injury, seek advice from a reputable allied health professional before considering these exercises.

*Powerband is an elastic resistance device commonly used in strength & conditioning and injury rehabilitation. Whilst we have no affiliation or endorsement deal with Iron Edge, we highly recommend them as a source for powerbands and related equipment.

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