Perform 2 sets of 8 repetitions on each leg three times per week. Continue this exercise once a week after symptoms resolve to maintain lower leg strength.
The muscles on the inner and outer aspects of the calf play a role in knee and ankle stability and gait. Dysfunction in these muscles can be related to pain on the outside of the knee. This exercise can improve activity in these muscle groups, and may improve stability in other muscle groups by challenging balance.
This exercise is most effective when performed against resistance. Tie a light resistance band around a table leg or other sturdy fixture, or use a cable machine with the handle at ankle height.
To perform inversions, stand on one leg with the band fixed around the inside of the foot of the leg that is not on the ground. Keeping the hip and knee facing directly ahead, sweep the foot in towards the foot you are standing on. Try to move only at the ankle, without rotating at the hip or knee. Once you have swept the foot in as far as possible, hold for one second, and then control the foot back to the straight position over two seconds. Perform the prescribed repetitions before switching to eversions.
To perform eversions, stand on one leg with the band around the outside of the foot that you are not standing on. Sweep the foot out away from the body without rotating at the hip or knee. Hold for one second in the maximally swept position before controlling the foot back to the starting position over two seconds. Repeat for the prescribed amount of repetitions before switching back to inversions.
• Using the muscles of the upper leg to move the band. Movement in this exercise should occur exclusively at the foot. When the muscles that move the foot are weak, the body will try to compensate by moving at the hip. Practice the inversion and eversion movement without any resistance first if you need to familiarize yourself with the movement. You can also perform the exercise with the heel on the ground to start with, but progress to a single-leg stance as soon as you feel comfortable.
• Using too much resistance. If there is too much resistance, the body will compensate, or you won’t be able to achieve maximum range of motion. Adjust the resistance so that you are able to move the foot as much as you would be able to with no resistance while keeping the hip and knee stabilized.
• Performing this exercise on one leg only. You will notice that the leg you are standing on also does a lot of work to keep you balanced during the exercise. Do this exercise on both sides of the body to make the most of its benefits.
You should be able to perform a full set without putting the foot down, holding onto anything, or moving at the knee or hip before progressing.