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Importance of Ankle Mobility

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Often times when we think of mobilizing certain areas of the body before or after a workout we focus on the shoulders and hips. Too often we forget about the importance of mobilizing our ankles and keeping them healthy.

Having healthy ankles that function properly can really help your overall strength, improve your squat and greatly reduce your risk of injury.

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When looking at mobility in the ankle we need to focus on both dorsiflexion (flexing the feet) and plantar flexion (pointing the toes) and the movements within this plane of motion. We need our ankle to being functioning correctly as it relates to the movement of the entire Kinetic chain including shin, knee, hip and lower back placement. These are very important when considering proper moving patterns, especially when we add weight or force to a movement.

When mobilizing the ankle we not only need to pay attention to the joint, but also the muscles and fascia around the ankle.

Here are some ways to mobilize your ankles and keep them healthy and functioning properly:

1)Myofascial release of surrounding muscles / fascia – think bottom of the foot, achilles and calf. You can use a foam roller, lacrosse ball or Trigger Point Roller. Think about rolling out each side for at least 1-2 minutes. If you find a tender spot, hold there and point and flex the foot to help release.

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2) Movement through the ankle using ankle rotations are also helpful. Check out this video from The Movement Fix. These ankle rotations can also be done using a Voodoo Band. If using a band, tighten around the meaty part of your calf muscle (not the ankle and not the knee) until it feels much like a compression sleeve. Perform 10-15 rotations on each leg.

3) Japanese Style Sitting – Sit with your feet tucked knees off the ground this top of the feet under your hips. If you can raise your shins off the ground this will intensify the stretch through the of the ankle. Hold for 1-2 minutes at a time.

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4) Ankle Distraction with Band
Check out this video from WOD DOC for additional options for ankle mobilization.

Use these tools / movements often and consistently to help keep your ankles strong and flexible!!