Ankle Stretches for Seniors and the Elderly

Heel Stand

Ankle stretches, including the heel stand below, is a great addition to your senior and elderly standing exercise program. Ankle movements increase the blood flow through your legs, helping to prevent pooling.

The calf muscle is the primary mover of your ankle when going up on your toes. Your anterior tibialis muscle is located in the front of your leg which allows you to rise up on your heels.

This exercise also provides a great opportunity to practice your balance when going back on your heels. Make sure you hold on to a chair with either one finger, one hand or both hands for safety.

As you get better at balancing on your heels, try using less and less support. But remember to always have a chair handy for those times when the legs are a little tired.

Purpose of this exercise

Strengthens the front part of the lower leg. You will become better able to raise your toes to avoid tripping.

Step 1

Stand, using a chair to balance yourself.


Step 2

Raise up on your heels. Lower and repeat 10 times.



Exhale during the toe up movement phase. Inhale during the toe down movement phase.


Don’t lean on the chair too much. Try to keep a straight body when lifting your toes. If you get a cramp, stop and massage your muscle.

Take it up a notch

Try holding on with just one hand, one finger, then let go completely and balance on your heels.

How to do Heel Stand

How to do Heel Stand

More Lower Body Strengthening

1. Ankle Circles

2. Hip Marching

3. Knee Extension

4. Calf Raises

5. Standing Knee Flexion

6. Side Hip Raise

7. Sit to Stand

8. Heel Stand

9. Lunges

10. Straight Leg Raise

11. Partial Squats

12. Hip Extension

Resources Family Caregivers