When we walk, squat, or jump, our joints must be mobile or flexible so we can move dynamically and transfer energy. Any restriction in range of motion can cause movement restrictions, compensation patterns, and joint stress.
Ankles are one of the most common joints where a restricted range of motion affects movement as a podiatrist. Limited ankle mobility can be caused by a variety of factors, including tight calves and flat feet. Nevertheless, there are some things everyone can do to increase ankle flexibility and improve their movement, regardless of the cause.Let’s briefly review the ankle joint’s movements before we move on to the recommended release techniques.
What Is Ankle Mobility?
Ankle mobility is the ability of your foot and ankle to move in various directions. The ankle joint is made up of three bones: the tibia, talus (ankle bone), and calcaneus (heel bone). Ligaments and tendons connect these bones. Ankle mobility is important for many activities. What causes ankle pain? There are two main types of ankle injuries: acute and overuse. An acute injury is caused by a sudden twist or fall that damages the ligaments or tendons in the ankle.
5+ Stretch Moves for Improving Ankle Mobility
Circle Your Ankle
Stretch before you begin. You can do these circles either sitting or lying down, and they will improve your range of motion.
- Under your ankle, roll a towel or use a foam roller.
- Make 10 clockwise circles and 10 counterclockwise circles around your ankle slowly.
- It would help if you only moved your foot and ankle, not your leg.
- Use your big toe to trace out the alphabet.
Check out these ankle stretches for more.
Heel Lifts for Standing
- It would help if you stood with your feet about shoulder-width apart. You can use a chair or the wall nearby if you need support.
- Stand on the balls of your feet by lifting your heels off the ground.
- Reduce the height of your heels by lowering them slowly. It is important to control your muscles if you want to strengthen them.
- Do two or three sets of ten lifts each.
- Holding free weights while lifting your heels can add resistance to this exercise.
This exercise can also be incorporated into your daily routine, such as when you wash dishes.
Steps With Toes Raised and Heels Dropped
The ankle is flexed more in this move than in the heel lift on the floor.
- Your weight should be on your balls of feet, and your heels should be hanging off of the bottom step. When you need support, you can use a banister.
- As you rise to your toes, slowly lower your feet to the step level with your heels dropping below it.
- Every other day, perform two or three sets of ten lifts each.
- Toe raises can be made more challenging by holding weights.
Flexion Of the Ankle (Plantar)
You strengthen your ankle using a resistance band by pointing your toes downward and toward your heel.
- Sit on the floor with one leg bent at the knee, your heel on the floor, and the other leg comfortably on the floor.
- Hold both ends of the band with your hands and loop it around your foot.
- Release the tension in your toes by pointing them forward and back slowly.
- Make sure you do three sets of ten flexes on each foot weekly.
Strengthening your ankles and improving your balance are two benefits of lunges. Lunges come in a variety of forms. If you are just starting, you might want to take it easy at first and work up to more difficult versions over time. Lunges in place should be started with a static lunge.
- Start by putting one foot in front of the other, with your toes facing forward.
- Maintain a straight back.
- Your back knee should be almost touching the floor when you bend it.
- Regain your strength by pushing yourself up again.
- Do two sets of 10 repetitions each.
Your leading leg should be varied as well as the static lunge. Three steps should precede each lunge, and the forward leg should be alternated.