Ankle Mobility For Knee Health
Moving on up
Once we’ve addressed tight, stiff tissues in the feet, we move up the kinetic chain and focus on ankle flexibility.
More Than Just Calves
Ankle flexibility is often confused with tight calves, and whilst calves do play a role in ankle dorsiflexion, there is more to ankle health than that.
The first exercise will work to open the front of the ankle, and the second will focus on the achilles at the rear of the ankle.
Both of these stretches are very straightforward, they just need you to spend a good amount of time in mildly uncomfortable positions to affect some change to your tissue.
Consistency beats Complexity
Mobility doesn’t have to be complicated to get results, it just requires consistency.
Ankle Exercise 1
The achilles stretch targets the achilles tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It is the largest tendon in the entire body and takes a lot of punishment on a daily basis, so can really benefit from some regular focussed attention.
Be careful not to rush or push too hard. Remember ligaments and tendons are naturally slower to heal, repair and change than muscle.
- Start in a half kneeling position, keeping your knee directly over your toes.
- Move your opposite leg out to the side, so your hip flexor isn’t limiting the stretch.
- Begin to take your knee past your toes, whilst keeping your heel on the floor.
- Bring your chest over your knee to increase the stretch, making sure the knee is still tracking over the toes and the heel remains down.
- Build this up to spending 2 minutes per side.
Ankle Exercise 2
The muscles along the shin are often overlooked, but tightness here can have a noticeable effect on knee health.
We want to gradually open the front of the ankle, and stretch the tight muscles along the front of the shin to increase ankle range of motion.
- Grab yourself a yoga block, weight plate or stack of books.
- Start on all fours and position the top of your feet on the block. The block should be just above the knuckles of the toes.
- Big toes, ankles and knees should be together, then sit back with the weight of your bum on the heels. This helps push the ankle open towards its full range of plantar flexion.
- Build up to 2 minutes in this position.
Time to get serious about sorting your knees
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