Do your ankles feel stiff after a long day, are your knees sore after a long walk, or maybe just going up the stairs has become increasingly tough? This is an indication that ankle mobility could be an area of focus for strengthening and improving general health. It’s more important than many realize – however, it’s also easier to improve than you may think! Read on to learn why enhancing ankle mobility can make all the difference when it comes to managing lower body aches and pains.
Why Ankle Mobility Matters More Than You Think
Why Ankle Mobility Matters
Maintaining good ankle mobility is a critical component of your musculoskeletal well-being that often goes overlooked. Unfortunately, inadequate movement in this area can lead to troublesome and painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis, heel pain, and knee pain, all of which can impair your quality of life. Such issues can be especially debilitating since they restrict daily activities such as walking and running – not to mention the residual impact on other parts of your body caused by compensating elsewhere. In order to avoid these complications and improve overall health, it is important to regularly perform exercises that promote ankle flexibility and strength.
What Limited Ankle Mobility Looks Like
Not having adequate ankle mobility can be a major hindrance in your daily activities, like hiking (or even just walking!) uphill. A casual stroll on your backyard trail or a light morning hike might not sound so difficult—until you find yourself struggling on uneven or inclined terrain due to restricted movement. This could lead to exhaustion, discomfort, or a worse injury if left unaddressed.
But even something as seemingly simple as a squat at the gym or sitting down on a chair requires a sufficient range of motion from both ankles—otherwise smaller muscles around your joints are forced into overcompensation which will only increase the risk of harm down the line. Poor balance is also an increased threat without flexible feet when completing weight-bearing workouts – another possible indication that limited ankle mobility needs attention now more than ever!
How to Assess Your Ankle Mobility
Are you wondering if your ankles are ready to take on the demands of a sport or activity? Test your range of motion with an easy assessment! Keeping both feet planted firmly on the ground, try to bring your knees over your toes. If you can reach this position without lifting off either heel, congratulations – that’s great ankle mobility! If you have trouble keeping your feet grounded though, you may have a limited range of motion. Limited movement can be harmful to long-term success and requires attention, but don’t worry, with some practice you can gain back full functionality!
Practice and Improve Your Ankle Mobility
Developing and maintaining optimal ankle mobility is essential for day-to-day activities, sports performance, and injury prevention. One of the best ways to improve your ankle’s flexibility – as well as symmetry between both sides – is by performing controlled articular rotations (CARS) each day! All it takes are a few small movements: sit on either a chair or the floor with legs outstretched in front of you. Point your toes outward, and flex them back towards your shin repeatedly while trying to move your ankles in a circular motion. If you need, you can always watch and follow along on ankle CARs with Dr. Justin here! To level up those improvements, add calf stretches, foam rolling sessions, & some daily mobilizations into your routine – and remember that consistency is key!
Ankle mobility plays an important role in maintaining your physical well-being and overall quality of life. Unfortunately, many people suffer from limited ankle motion which can cause numerous conditions that limit their ability to exercise or do daily activities. You don’t have to accept diminished joint health – by doing simple tests and performing regular exercises such as CARS you can drastically improve your range of motion, reducing the risk of injury while increasing strength and function!