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Ankle stability - prevent injuries

Posted by Nic Keller on

Ankle stability

In our last article we covered the important topic of ankle mobility. As you already know, adequate ankle mobility is important in many ways. Mobility restrictions in the ankle joint area can have a negative impact on local (ankle joint itself) but also distant (knee joint, hip joint) body structures (muscles, tendons, joints, etc.). For this reason, adequate ankle mobility is a basic requirement for optimal ankle function.

In today's article we will cover another very important topic - ankle stability. In this context we must differentiate between local and global ankle stability.

Local ankle stability

In this context, local ankle joint stability is created by the local ankle joint stabilizers:

- Tibialis posterior muscle

- M. Peroneus longus

- Peroneus brevis muscle

- Tibialis anterior muscle

These muscles encompass the ankle joint, which means they are able to directly stabilize the ankle joint. Unfortunately, many footballers have functional disorders within the local ankle stabilizers. These muscles can develop long-term problems, especially after ankle joint injuries (ligament stretching/torn).

In the next step, global ankle stability is necessary for optimal ankle stability.


Global ankle stability

By global ankle stability we mean the stability of the entire leg axis. In this context, solid global ankle stability results from optimal interaction of the trunk/hip/leg muscles. Weaknesses in the trunk/hip/leg muscles can lead to instability of the leg axis, which can indirectly have a negative impact on the ankle joint. For this reason, optimal ankle joint stability results from an optimal interaction of local and global ankle joint stability.

In the next step we will show you two exercises that can help you improve your local and global ankle stability.


Improvement of local ankle joint stability

Strengthening deep calf muscles on one leg

  • Exercise goal:
  • Strengthening deep calf muscles


  • Starting position:
  • You are in one leg stand
  • Adjust your leg axis optimally
  • Your toes point straight forward
  • Your knee joint is bent


  • Execution:
  • From this position, push yourself as far up as possible
  • Distribute the pressure evenly across your forefoot
  • Possible evasive movement:
  • An uneven foot load during movement


  • Where should you feel it:
  • Exertion in your calf muscles

An athlete does an ankle stability exercise

Starting position

An athlete is doing an ankle stability exercise and is in the finishing position

Final position

Improve global leg stability

One leg squat

  • Exercise goal:
  • Stabilization of the leg axis


  • Starting position
  • You are in one leg stand
  • Adjust your leg axis optimally
  • Your foot is straight forward
  • Your knee joint is slightly bent
  • Your kneecap points towards the middle of your foot
  • Your pelvis is upright and straight


  • execution
  • Perform a small squat
  • Keep your leg axis straight and stable


  • Possible evasive movement/s:
  • An inward softening of your knee joint
  • Push your pelvis to the side
  • An evasive movement of your upper body to the side


  • Where should you feel it:
  • Effort in the entire leg

A soccer player does a one-legged squat

Starting position

A soccer player is in the final position of a one-legged squat

Final position

Author: Nico Imhof, physiotherapist

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