An important but often overlooked area of the body is the function of the ankles. Unless a person is specifically having ankle pain, the ankles are commonly put in the back seat. However, having adequate ankle mobility is extremely important for working out, sports, and everyday life.
Ankle mobility is the ability to move the foot through plantarflexion and dorsiflexion. Plantarflexion is moving the toes down towards the ground (e.g. doing a calf raise). Dorsiflexion is bringing the toes up towards the ceiling (e.g. placing the foot on a wall to stretch the calves).
Most individuals have plenty of plantarflexion but over time develop limited ankle dorsiflexion. This is important because dorsiflexion is needed for walking, running, jumping, squatting, and pretty much everything we do in our daily lives.
If ankle dorsiflexion is limited, the body compensates by using other parts such as the foot, knee, hip, and back to achieve these normal movements. In doing so, more stress and strain is placed on these other structures and can lead to pain and dysfunction down the road.
Check out the video to see if you have limited ankle mobility and what you can do to fix it.
Dr. Ryan Donahue was born and raised in Sioux City, IA. He attended the University of Iowa where he received a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Physiology before graduating Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern Health Sciences University as a Doctor of Chiropractic. Dr. Donahue is a Certified Provider of Active Release Technique, RockTape kinesiology tape, and SMART Tools (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization). He has also had extensive post graduate training in various treatment and rehabilitation approaches that include McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS).