Ankle Flexibility & Mobility

When it comes to mobility in general, most people think of things to do with the IT band, the shoulders, legs, back and the entire posterior chain, however, when it comes to the ankles, a lot of people either just disregard this or do not really associate doing mobility exercises with this body part in particular. A lot of people do not really believe that it is worth going through the effort of making the ankle joint more flexible. You may not know this but if you improve the flexibility in your ankle, it can help with some movements that involve ankle flexion, for example, the squat if probably the exercise that is affected the most by the flexibility of the ankle and if this area is improved in terms of mobility, your squat strength would be improved and you would decrease your chance of suffering from an injury.

To learn why ankle mobility is so important in a squat (or any closed chain movement where the foot is in contact with the ground), we must learn more about dorsi flexion and how it relates to the ankle.

Think of the ankle as a hinge joint that can only move in a single plane of motion and this movement, dorsiflexion is one of these planes of movement. This is where the movement involves the toes pointing downwards, poor dorsiflexion can be caused by the following reasons:

  • Lower body injuries
  • Wearing shoes with big heels
  • Anterior pelvic tilt posture
  • Calf flexibility issues

Now here’s a number of ways that you can improve your ankle flexibility:

  • Myofascial release (foam rollers or tennis balls work great for this)
  • Heel raises (put your toes on something that is on a slight incline and bend your knees, a 5kg plate works well)

Keep a close eye on our website and Facebook page for our next Fitness resource. This will be focused on “How To Foam Roll” and benefit ankle flexibility and other limitations you may have.