Ankle Mobility – Self Care

Let’s take a minute and give respect to two of the most important parts of your mobility……your ankles. These bad boys take a beating day after day & probably aren’t really cared for properly.  If you’re a numbers person, like me, look at how much the puppies work in just one mile. The average walking stride is 2.1 to 2.5 ft., which makes for over 2,000 strikes per mile.  About how many miles you walk a day?  The more you use something without stretching it out, the stiffer it’s going to get.

We squat something almost daily. Don’t wait to for the gym or to put weight on your back to get deep in a squat. Ankle flexion is the foundation of the squat, if they are stuck at 90° the chest is going to dump forward. Think about this with a bar over head and we’re talking unwanted shoulder compensation.

Here’s a picture that shows what lack of mobility does for your squats:

So, where do we start?

Don’t look for a quick fix, commit a little daily time to caring for these pillars of your body. Second, start by rolling the surrounding areas of the ankle & calves

First Drill: Tight calves and fascia can really restrict the ankle joint. Start by breaking up the tissue in that area by rolling the bottom of your heel and the meat of your calves. You want to have direct pressure on these areas so the best mobility tools are going to be a lacrosse ball or a barbell. Sit on your butt, cross one leg over the other and start by placing your calf on a lacrosse ball. Apply pressure to the ball as you roll it up, down, forward and back over the muscles of your calves. After spending about 2 minutes on this area, switch legs and do the same thing to your other leg.

With a similar strategy, do the same thing on the heel of your foot. Stand with one foot firmly planted on the ground and the other on top of a lacrosse ball. Apply pressure and move your foot all about. If you feel extra tight at any point, sit and breath holding pressure over that spot.

After rolling, the next step would be to stretch the ankles into a flexed position. An easy option would be putting your toes up on a wall or some vertical surface with your heel on the floor. Shift your hips forward to force the ankle into a flexed position.

Build yourself a mobility routine and stick with it for at least 30 days before determining if it works… me it will.  Take care of your body.