Ankle Alphabet to Create New Pathways

Slowly and deliberately stretch and squeeze the muscles of the ankle through the alphabet. You can spell the full alphabet in large capital letters or simply write your name. This exercise will strengthen your ankles and develop new pathways in your nerves to get the messages from your brain to your feet. 



Sit straight up in a chair with good back support.  Rest your leg on a second chair or footrest.

Point your toe outward then slowly write the alphabet one letter at a time.  Write as slowly as you can, stretching to your full range of motion.  Write through the alphabet as far as you can using your full range of motion or as large as it is comfortable.. This movement should come from your foot and ankle, not your hip or knee. 

Write the alphabet with the other foot. 

Complete this exercise with both feet two times a day or ask to your physical therapist how often to repeat exercise ­­­_____ times, ____times per day.


If  the messages aren’t getting from your brain to your toes, practice, exercise, practice some more to develop new pathways in your brain.

Another text: Moving off the path. Ankle Clonus Test

When the deep tendon reflexes of the ankle are hyper active neurologists will test for Ankle Clonus.  Clonus is the involuntary repetitive oscillations of the foot altering planter flexion and dorsa flexion. 

To check for Clonus I sat on the table and allowed my legs to drop down relaxed and Dr. Sponsler gently grasped my foot,  one hand under my foot and the other on top.

We can easily understand the nerve pathways in our brain with the analogy of a path in the woods.  As we hike to a destination on the same path it gets well worn and recognizable.  The more we chose to travel that path, the more effortless and comfortable it becomes.                        

If a storms hits and knocks a tree across the path, we’ll need to venture off the path to get around the obstacle.  As we continue down the new path regularly, over time it will become as smooth and comfortable as the original path.