Measure Your Mobility: The Ankle

Welcome to Simple Sport Therapy’s first blog post. This will be kept short and simple –  enjoy!

This post talks you through a simple test you can do at home to measure your ankle mobility.

When you think about mobility and flexibility, a lot of people think that this is just in relation to whether you can touch your toes, or how high you can kick your leg etc. However mobility and flexibility also applies to your joints!

Ankle mobility is actually really important in both sporting environments and every day life. Without it, you’re exposing yourself to a whole host of injuries (but that will be covered in later posts, because I know I’ll get carried away and we will be here all day).

Your ankle is able to perform many movements; the most common ones are:

dorsiplantar

  • Dorsiflexion (toes moving up towards your head)
  • Plantarflexion (toes pointing down – think ‘like a dancer’)
  • Inversion and Eversion (moving the sole of the foot in and out)

All ankle mobility is important in its own right, however dorsiflexion is commonly reduced – especially following injury. A lack of dorsiflexion is a key contributor to a number of injuries, and without it you would find it very difficult to walk, run, climb stairs, jump (I could go on… but you get it).  So I’m going to show you a really simple and effective (providing you follow the rules) way of measuring your ankle dorsiflexion.

The Test

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  1. Find a flat wall with no skirting board (skirting boards add distance between your toes and the wall) and lay a tape measure down coming out from the wall.
  2. Start with your toes touching the wall, and slowly lunge towards the wall until your knee touches.
  3. If your heel stays flat (it should at 0cm), move your foot back a few cm and try again. Continue this step until you get to a point where you can no longer reach the wall with your knee, whilst keeping your foot flat on the floor.

Rules (that you must follow!):

  • Keep your knee in line with your toes – no leaning in or out to cheat your way closer to the wall!
  • Keep your arch and ankle strong – don’t let your foot become flat or roll in.
  • When your heel starts to come off (yes, even if it’s only a teeny tiny bit!) you’ve gone too far. Bring your foot forward a little and test again.

No cheating! If you keep to the rules, you’ll get a more reliable result.

What are you aiming for?

  •  Ideally, you want to reach 10cm on each ankle (or as close to that as possible – everyone likes a challenge!) Over 10cm is fine.
  • Symmetry! Your body works best when its equal on both sides. So even if you don’t quite have 10cm; if they’re the same it’s a good start.

If you have more or less than 10cm, don’t freak out thinking that you’re destined for injury. It is just one factor that may contribute to injury. I will post a blog leading on from this about how to increase your ankle mobility! I won’t leave it too long, I promise.

All that is left is for you to give it a go!

This post was meant to be relatively short, but I guess I can get carried away easily. Whoops!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Simple Sports Therapy’s first blog post! Please feel free to leave feedback and comment if there is anything you’d like to know/read more about. Until next time – keep it simple.

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