ankle mobility

Tune Up Tuesday Episode 20: Ankle PAILs and RAILs

A while back I posted a video on how to assess ankle mobility along with a few of my favorite drills to improve it.  You can read that here.

The ankles are often a sneaky joint that, when limited, can cause pain and dysfunction in other areas of the body; specifically the knees, hips and lower back.  

For some reason we tend to forget about this joint, probably because we constantly throw them in sneakers and think of them as appendages that simply get us from point A to point B.

Did you know that the foot itself adapts to the surfaces you stand? Or that it helps bring stability to the ankle so it can do it's job?

Did you know as you squat, run, jump, and move around, lack of ankle mobility can effect knee mechanics and cause compensations you aren't aware about?

The ankle joint is a keystone area of the body that every person should focus on. Here is one of my favorite drills from the Functional Range Conditioning system used to expand your ankle's range of motion. 

Questions, Comments, Concerns?  Leave a comment below!

Move Well, Stay Strong

Tune-Up Tuesday - Episode 3: Ankle CARs

Today's Tune-Up Tuesday covers ankle CARs.  Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) and are an integral part of my mobility training, as well as my clients'.  If you want to learn more about CARs you can read my previous blog post about them here

Here is a recap of the importance of CARs:

1. Maintains joint health. 

2. Maintains joint range of motion.

3. A tool to assess your range of motion and overall function of the joint.

Keep the following in mind while performing your ankle CARs:

1. Each circle you draw should be the biggest joint circle you can possibly make WITHOUT compensating. 

2. Move slowly, with control in order to stimulate the receptors within the joint.  This is what allows this exercise to offer the many benefits it does. 

3. Do them daily.  If an apple a day will keep the doctor away, CARs every day will help keep pain away.  

Give these a try, and let me know your feedback in the comment section below.

Move Well, Stay Strong.

 

Ankle Mobility

Early on in my career, I have had a handful of patients that regardless of what I did, their squat technique was always off.  I would work for months and months and I could only make so much change.  Banging my head against the wall, it took me way too long to start to look at the ankles during my assessment process.  

The ankle joint is one of the most overlooked joints in the body when movement dysfunction or pain exists. Poor ankle mobility can cause poor movement patterns, knee pain, inability to squat to full depth and a slew of other problems.   

HOW TO ASSESS ANKLE MOBILITY

Before you start randomly throwing ankle mobility exercises into your programs, first start with this simple assessment from the FMS/SFMA.

By assessing the ankles you now have an objective measure that will A) tell you if you have a deficit and B) is an objective way to retest your mobility to see if you are actually making improvements.

ANKLE MOBILITY FIXES

There are a ton of very good ankle mobility correctives out there.  The following are just a few of my favorites placed into one location for your convenience. 

Since the calves are always in use with walking, standing, jumping, running etc... they have the potential to develop trigger points and tightness.  In order to address this there are 3 things we need to focus on. 

1) Self Myofascial Release: To Your Calf and Plantar Fascia. 

Using a foam roller or a lacrosse ball (any ball will do really) roll the entire length of the muscle for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you find any tender points along the way, stop and keep pressure on this area for 5 deep breaths.  

Note: The plantar fascia is part of the superficial back line.  It had a direct fascial connection with the gastroc, therefore rolling both out can offer greater benefit than one alone.  

2) Stretching - There is a lot of chatter going on in the field of health and fitness that stretching is overrated, and we do too much of it.  As there is much merit to this, focused stretching to areas that NEED to be addressed is beneficial.  Bottom line here: Don't stretch a muscle just because it feels tight.  Use objective measures that assure you that what you are stretching (like our DF assessment) is actually improving your mobility and movement. 

There are many ways to stretch this area of your body.  Just make sure that when you stretch, you hold the stretch for 2 minutes without coming out of it.  Research done from Dr. Andrea Spina and the FRC courses suggests that tissues need at least 2 minutes of constant communication to effectively make positive improvements. 

3) Ankle Mobility - These are best served as movement prep for your workouts, and to help improve ankle joint mobility.  Here a couple of my favorites below:

Ankle Mobs to Wall

Mulligan Mobs with Movement

Calf Rock Backs

Whether or not you feel your technique is good or not, take 2 minutes to assess your ankle mobility.  It can potentially help you find limitations that can help improve your technique and performance. 

Hope this was helpful, please leave your comments and feed back below.