Ankle mobility is an essential component for general health, correct walking mechanics, correct running mechanics and your ability to squat effectively. Learning how to improve ankle mobility is critical for anyone who values these components.
How to improve ankle mobility – range of motion?
The ankle joint itself can perform two movements. Hinge forwards and backwards. Rotate.
As the shin moves backwards and forwards the bone also slides across the ankle to a better position for more range. This slide is very important or good range of motion when the joint hinges. The other movement that can occur at the ankle is a very slight rotation. Although the displacement of the bones is minimal the movement is invaluable for balance, walking, running and squatting. Without good range of both more complex movements such as running are compromised. Energy is then displaced to other areas of the body that cannot withstand it.
How to improve ankle mobility – The Routine
- 20 x Banded ankle distraction – bent knee/soleus focus – Each Side
- 60s Wall calve stretch – Each Side
- 60s Alternate toe raised calve stretch – Each side
- 20x Posterior Banded Distraction – Backwards and forwards – Each Side
- 20 x Posterior Banded distractions circles – Each Side
- 20 x Anterior Banded Distraction – Backwards and forwards – Each Side
- 20 x Double Ankle Circle – Each Way
It is very important you perform this routine daily to gain the improvements in your ankle mobility. Big changes happens over time and once you obtain it, it can be maintained through normal movement patterns and continuing with a few of the exercises below in your warm-up and cool down.
How to improve ankle mobility – range of motion test
The basic ankle range of motion test is toe moving towards the knee. A common issue when individuals have tight calves, soleus and hamstring muscles. It is a critical evaluation to ensure health, injury reduction and performance.
Firstly you place your foot perpendicularly next to a wall, toes touching the wall. You then try to touch the wall with your knee without raising your heel. If you are successful with your toe touching the wall then slowly move one centimetre back and try again. As you succeed more and more, take small steps back until you can no-longer touch the wall without raising the heel. This gives you your range of motion during dorsi’flexion and is measured by the distance you reach from the wall without raising the heel.
A healthy ankle should reach around 5 inches and an athlete who need good ankle mobility like gymnastics or surfing could get to 8 inches.
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