Got Tight Calf/Ankles/Feet? Here’s your Troubleshoot! (part V)

We’re back to business with our series on the calf/ankles/feet.

HERE we talked about some SMR techniques to ease pain and tension in compressed areas:

Part IV

Today we’ll talk a little about mobility and stability. If you ask me, these are the key players to consider when rehabilitating any injury, or even addressing training in general. Although they are on two sides of the spectrum, it is imperative that we:
a) Assess the individual
b) Find out what their limiting factors are in terms of relative mobility/stability in each plane of motion,
c) Determine their degree of mobility/stability relative to the next proximal/distal joint segment in the kinetic chain.

d) use the non-affected side/limb to compare against.

For the sake of our discussion today, and without getting extremely technical with each and every joint segment in the calf/ankle, The following videos I’m posting have to do with gaining better mobility at the joint segments of:
– The Midtarsal joint (basically, the joint in the middle of your foot)
– The Sub-Talar joint (the articulation of the calcaneus and the talus, or, the heel bone and the bone directly above it), and,
– The Mortise (the true ankle joint, or the articulation of the talus with the tibia and fibula, or, the bones that make up your shin, and the bone directly beneath it).

When Would I use these Mobilization Drills?
– If the individual has trouble in the bottom of a deep squat (heels lift off, back leans forward too far)
– If the individual “toes out” during walking gait assessment moving either forward or backward
– And, quite simply, if I take the individual through these mobility drills, and they are having a hard time keeping their heel on the ground, lack sufficient range of motion, or are cheating in any other way (as listed below in key points).

So, onto the video demonstrations of how to properly mobilize these joint segments!

This one is more isolative in nature, but definitely a good place to start.

Key Points:
– Maintain stable hip/trunk musculature
– Maintain a strong, solid “Tri-Post” between the 1st and 5th metatarsal heads, and the calcaneus… no over-pronation allowed!
– Prevent the same side hip as the ankle you are stretching from flying out… this will further drive over-pronation, which is a “bail-out” maneuver that  will not really drive true ankle dorsiflexion, which is what we are after here.

Front Leg Knee Driver:

A little more integrative, now that we are standing. This one is to facilitate decelerating ankle dorsiflexion in the front leg in gait.

Key Points:
– Same Key Points as listed above, and,
– Drive from the hips, and drive the knee over the toe next to the big toe
– I probably moved a bit too fast… maybe about 2/3rds the speed compared to how I was stretching

These are a few you can start with when it comes to mobilizing your foot/ankle/calf complex, that address the joint segments listed above. Next time, I will cover a few more progressions you can implement into your training program, and finally, we will close out the series with some Mo-stability exercises you can implement to get that sucker evenly balanced!


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