I had to turn around on a long (5000ft) glacier route last week because one of my ankles had really begun to hurt. The ankle was so fatigued after 1000ft that I doubted my ability to safely finish the remaining 4000ft, and the descent. I had decent double plastic boots, and had no problem kicking steps up soft snow the day before, but cramponing up a long, 25-35°, solidly frozen slope was apparently more than my ankles could handle.

Is there a training regimen for foot and ankle strength?

  • If there was swelling an antiinflammatory?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 3:41
  • The ankle is a joint which has over a dozen muscles crossing it. Can you be more specific about in what part of the ankle and during what exertions you were feeling the fatigue? Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 9:39
  • @DavidScarlett , the pain was in the insertion of the calf muscle into the ankle, which I guess is the Achilles tendon. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 10:00
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    @Paparazzi There was no swelling, and almost as soon as I turned around and stopped having to hold "french technique" the pain went away. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 10:00
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    @imsodin French technique is what folks in the US call having all points down. Historically we used to call front pointing "German technique", but everybody just calls it "front pointing" now. No front pointing involved in this climb. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


Get a balance board. When you brush your teeth, stand on it with bare feet and balance. Once you become stronger, balance standing on one foot. I did this during marathon training with good results.

Balance board example

To increase calf strength, try step-ups:

  • Position the tip of your foot on a stair
  • Flex your foot, raising your body by a few inches just using your calf muscles. Release slowly.
  • Start with 2x12 repetitions. Over the next weeks carefully increase the volume or the intensity, by holding a weight (heavy book, juice box, dumbell)

Go jogging.

Not on asphalt or paved roads, go "off-piste". Woodland trails are great. If you are able to, choose low shoes with low to moderate damping. Then run. Jogging over uneven ground is what I do to keep my feet strong. After years of playing handball I had trouble with my ankles, but running with low profile shoes in the forest (and trekking in the mountains come vacation time) keeps me on my feet (literally and figuratively). If you start to improve, and want to "up it a notch" then you can always go for no-padding-shoes or bare-foot and try some front foot running

  • Norwegians seem to make a national sport of putting trimkasse on every reachable and unreachable spot in the mountains. I'm told even the mountains around Troll, Antarctica are littered with them!
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 9:35
  • Ha, yes, that is incredibly Norwegian - what a nice funfact! I'll use that some time.
    – Stian
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 9:37
  • That's a good idea! However, careful not too overdose on the barefoot/minimal shoe running. It takes some getting used to. Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 16:05

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