Want to improve your running or squatting?
Then ankle dorsiflexion will be important to you!
What is dorsiflexion?
Glad you asked, it is the action of either bringing your foot up so your toes are towards your shins or if you have your foot planted on the ground it is bending the knee and shin to go towards the foot.
What happens if you have limited movement or flexion in the ankle?
If you have ever rolled or sprained your ankle you will know how awkward movement is when there is swelling in the joint. A lack of flexion will create a flattened foot arch and for the foot to roll inwards, and the knee to collapse inwards, altering the knee capsule space.
If you try squatting with limited dorsiflexion your centre of gravity will be off, tipping you backwards, ending up moving your chest forward (loading your back).
Can it lead to more injuries?
Over time these compensations create greater risk of knee injuries (I recently have had a meniscus tear which can be traced back to poor dorsiflexion), foot injuries such as collapsed arches and further sprains and fractures in the ankle due to poor shock absorption. Compensation can also occur in the pelvis leading to chronic back pain.
How to improve your Dorsiflexion
Weight Bearing Lunge Test will give you a measure of your dorsiflexion.
To perform this test:
Stand against a wall about 10cm between feet and wall
Move one foot back about a foot distance behind
Bend the knee until it touches the wall (keep heel on ground)
If you can not touch the wall with knee move your front foot closer. If you can touch the wall move your foot further away.
Measure the distance between the big toe and the wall. Repeat with opposite foot.
OK, So now you have done the test and like me you have poor flexion. Lets act now before it becomes a problem (or like me you have left it a bit too late and you are recovering from an injury).
1. Stretching Tight muscles
Stretching will warm muscles by increasing blood flow, improves flexibility and range of motion through a joint. Foam rollers or a rolling stick are great to roll your calf muscles and the long muscle next to the shin bone.
If this is not enough you can use a roller stick to move along these muscles.
Try also simple calf stretches and ankle stretches (see pictures ). Try the weight bearing lunge test before and after stretching to see the improvement.
2. Myofascia Release
Myofascia release techniques are fabulous for releasing the tight sheathing around muscles (the ankle is bundled with connective tissue). This is a massage technique I practice.
Acupuncture can help restore movement and reduce pain in the ankles. As a qualified Acupuncturist, I’ve recently come back from a professional development course where we learnt new techniques for more rapid recovery - the results have been great.
If you suspect or already know that you have an issue with the joint itself book in and see Andrew he can help you put more movement in the joint.
If you have any question just give me a call on 5310 6259 or book online here.
Look forward to seeing you in the future.