Hi, Dr. Eric Cobb. We’re continuing today with our ankle series. (Check out Part 1 and Part 2)
If you have ankle pain, or foot pain, obviously, we’ve been already talking about mobilizations in a couple of different ways. We’re gonna continue today working on ankle dorsiflexion.
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So ankle issues. One of the things that we’re going to run into constantly is a lack of dorsiflexion.
So dorsiflexion is when the toes come up toward the knee. So if I’m trying to get into a kneeling position or deep squat.
Limitations in dorsiflexion are very common and they can be very problematic. A lot of people will complain about a pinching sensation in the front of the ankle. So not only can limit your mobility to do athletic things, it can also start to create pain.
So what we’re gonna do is just take you through a quick progression that has worked really for a lot of clients. We will add some additional stuff to this later in the series.
But what I want you to do is first sit down, and you’re gonna begin with just some basic warm-up movements. some basic ankle rotations. You’re gonna do each direction 5-10 reps, and then you’re gonna repeat that on the opposite side. very, very simple.
You can do it at a slower pace, faster pace. And in fact, as you go through your rehab, I’m gonna recommend that you work at different speeds as you do the ankle circles. Now from there, we’re gonna start the dorsiflexion mobilization. Remember, the way that this is going to work is that we want the knees to get closer to the toes.
So in a seated position, I’m gonna take one leg and put it back, which means I’m gonna be focusing now on my right foot. I’m gonna draw it back until I start to feel just a little bit of tension in my calf and also maybe in the ankle.
And now all that I’m gonna do here is a little bit of a sliding motion forward. So you can see I’m keeping my heel on the ground and I’m gonna drive my knee forward.
What I do not want you to do is to drive your knee forward and in for this particular portion of the drill. If anything, I want you to come directly forward or forward and out a a bit, which will help drive a little bit more arch creation.
So we’re gonna do that again 5-10 times switch legs and then come back. I’d like for you to do two to three rounds of that. And then you’re just going to see how the ankle’s feeling.
You can go back and do a couple more ankle circles. From here, we’re going to get a little bit more aggressive with these mobilizations.
So for these, we’re gonna be kneeling. Now, The first exercise that I normally would teach here, we would use a wall. Alright? But because I’m on camera and the wall is not convenient, we’re actually gonna focus on I’m just gonna use a chair as an example. So I’m in a kneeling position and I want my toes to be about five inches from the of the wall or the base of my target, whatever that is. And from here, I’m just gonna drive forward with the general goal of getting my knee to the wall or whatever it is I’m trying to reach. Now obviously the leg here is a little further in than the bottom.
So for me, a good goal would be to make sure that my knee is actually making contact with the wall. If you have ankle problems, that’s going to be very rare.
A lot of people really struggle with this kind of basic mobilization. So you start with what you have. So you’re just gonna do 10-15 repetitions, switch legs, repeat that on the opposite side. You can again do these at different speeds. I would like for you in the beginning to again focus on not allowing the knee to drop in as you do that exercise. Now to reinforce that after you’ve done kind of this basic warm up on the wall, we’re then going to need a stick. Alright?
A dowel of some kind. And for this particular exercise, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna place a stick. Again, we’re staying in a kneeling position. We’re gonna place a stick in front of our second and third toes, and it’s gonna be touching there.
Now my job is to repeat that same exercise but instead of going to the inside of the stick, as I’m demonstrating here, what I want you to do is drive to the outside of the stick.
As you can see, if I come in here, I’m getting this what we call valgus knee angle, which is already created in many cases by a lack of dorsiflexion in the ankle and that can promote some potential knee injuries.
So what we wanna train ourselves to do is to drive to the outside. Alright? And you’re gonna also feel that if you keep your heel on the ground that you’ll feel your foot gripping just a little bit.
So this is again one of my very favorite mobility exercises for the ankle, and it’s a great warm up drill as well as you’re prepping to go into any kind of training session. Alright? So we have our seated ankle circles.
We have our little chair shuffle. We have our wall drill. Right? And now we have this little stick drill.
All of these I’ve found to be extremely beneficial. It usually only takes you 3-4 minutes to go through this little process, give it a shot, see how it makes your ankle feel, and we’ll follow-up next time with some information on the opposite movement, which is plantar flexion.