Favourite exercises to improve ankle dorsiflexion

This is a follow up to “Knee to wall test to test ankle flexibility | Ankle stiffness and it’s effect up the kinetic chain” video. I had some questions on some what exercises I would prescribe to help improve ankle dorsiflexion. The loss of ankle dorsiflexion is one of the most common lower limb biomechanical issues. There are a myriad of consequences stemming from this which includes but is not limited to: plantar fasciitis, achilles tendiopathy, patello-femoral pain, and hip arthritis. Here are two of my favourite exercises to prescribe and the rationale behind them:

  1. Ankle dorsiflexion self-mobilization

You can perform this one very easily on your own with a power band or a belt. It helps to glide the talus and create space in the ankle joint for more mobility. Try starting with 3 sets of 15 reps.

Photo: simpleset.net

2. Sustained heel walking

We want to make use of your body’s reciprocal inhibition. Have you ever noticed that if you lift up a weight with your biceps, your triceps are actively turned off by your brain? This is the same concept in place with this exercise. By activating the anterior compartment of your lower leg (shin muscles), we will not only create strength and endurance there, but your calves will naturally relax. Try 60 seconds of heel walking followed by 60 seconds of rest. Repeat for 3 reps.

Photo: simpleset.net

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