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Stretches for Your Lower Legs

Stretching can keep your lower legs limber and your joints pain-free. The following stretches involve the ankles and knee joints.

Keep these guidelines in mind when doing them:

  • Check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, especially if you have had hip, knee, or ankle surgery.

  • Start each stretching session with  5 to 7 minutes of gentle aerobic exercise, such as walking or riding a stationary bike, to warm up your muscles, or as directed by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

  • Start out slowly and build repetitions gradually.

  • Stop any exercise that causes pain.

  • Repeat each exercise  2 to 4 times, or as instructed.

Achilles tendon and calf muscles

Stand  2 or 3 feet from a wall. Lean forward with both hands touching the wall, one foot forward and the other 12 to 18 inches behind. Leave both feet flat on the floor during the stretch. Hold the stretch position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of  2 to 4 repetitions. Complete all repetitions on one side before changing sides. Ask your physical therapist to show you the exercise, if needed.

Stair-step calf-raise

Stand on a stair step with the toes of both feet near the edge. Position your heels below the level of the step, then rise on your toes. Hold the stretch and slowly return to the starting position. Ask your physical therapist to show you the exercise, if needed.

Be careful. If you have small feet and a large body, overdoing calf raises could damage your foot. To prevent this, gradually increase the number and height of the raises.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
  • Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
  • Thomas N Joseph MD