Limited ankle dorsiflexion has been associated with a whole host of lower extremity injuries including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, calf strains, shin splints, patellofemoral pain, IT band syndrome, and even ACL injuries. Additionally, limited ankle mobility manifests itself as a functional limitation in every day tasks such as walking, negotiating stairs, and even in athletic endeavors such as achieving proper squat depth or cutting. While the problems associated with limited ankle mobility are well known, the solutions on how to increase ankle dorsiflexion are not. Who else has spent hours and hours stretching without any increase in ankle dorsiflexion range of motion? In this article, we're going to cover everything you need to know about ankle mobility. From defining what ankle mobility is, why you need it, how to assess it, and most importantly, how to improve it! Hang on tight for the best ankle mobility exercises to improve ankle dorsiflexion that you can do from the comforts of your home to decrease your risk of lower extremity injury, improve your functional abilities, and enhance your athletic performance!
Normal ankle motion is so critical for the health and longevity of your body. The ankle moves your foot primarily into plantarflexion (toes away from you) and dorsiflexion (toes up towards the shin). For the sake of this article, we are going to discuss ankle dorsiflexion motion, and specifically how you can improve motion in this direction. Ankle plantarflexors (aka the calves) are a muscle group that often limit the dorsiflexion motion. Ankle dorsiflexion is crucial for squatting, going downstairs, jumping, and many other movements. This article will show you exercises for stiff ankles, by addressing limitations that may be present in the ankle joint and its surrounding muscles and tendons!