Does your Ankle Mobility measure up? Perform this quick test at home...
Maintaining appropriate ankle range of motion is necessary to perform normal walking, running, and squatting movements. Arguably the most important movement, dorsiflexion is the motion that allows the tibia (shin bone) to translate forward in relation to the foot when your feet are planted on the ground. When there is a lack of dorsiflexion range of motion, other joints in the leg are required to “pick up the slack,” increasing your risk for injury.
Place your foot 5 inches away from the wall and attempt to touch your knee to the wall, keeping it in line with your toes and without lifting your heel off of the ground. If you are unable to achieve this and your result looks more like the “fail” photo below, you may benefit from trying some of these exercises at home in order to improve your ankle mobility.
Foam Roll the Calf Muscles
Foam rolling can be beneficial for relieving muscle tension. Tight calf muscles are often the culprit for limited dorsiflexion.
Banded Joint Mobilizations
Place a resistance band (preferably a heavy one) just below the two bones on either side of the ankle. Shift your weight forward so that you can feel the band pulling the bottom of your ankle backwards.
Incline Calf Stretch with Weight
Position your foot on an elevated bench or other surface. Placing a weight on top of your knee will assist with the forward shift of your knee over your toe, producing a greater stretch. Be sure to keep your heel grounded.
Multi-Directional Weight Shift
Often times our ankles move in more than one direction, so it is important to train this way, too. Set up a narrow barrier in front of your foot and rock your knee to either side of this object. You can use a weight with this as well to improve the benefit of this stretch.