Being able to run, lift, or simply enjoy pain-free movement requires various mobility abilities for optimal function. The focus of this article is the importance of ankle mobility for your lower body. We talk about how interrelated our bodies are and this is no different: tight ankles may be affecting your hips which can compound into additional challenges during complex movements- and could even lead to back pain. There are many ways to combat these issues through personal mobility work and help from your therapist.
How your lower body works
Your lower body works as a full kinematic chain, which means that everything is connected. There are many structures from the foot to the hips, therefore, everything needs to be operating at its fullest in order to create optimal performance and injury prevention.
Think of this as a train- each passenger car is connected forming one locomotive. If one car gets disconnected or goes off the tracks, the function of the vehicle is completely altered. Applied to your legs; tightness in the feet or ankles can easily travel up the leg to your knees, hips, or low back.
Poor ankle mobility can make multiple compound movements more difficult, from complex Olympic lifts to basic squat patterns. If a “mobile” joint loses range of motion, this will lead to a “stable” joint attempting to compensate for this loss of motion. The chain reaction keeps happening.
There are a few ways you can work on mobility issues on your own, and ways your therapist can help optimize movement. Assisted ankle mobilizations can help get more range of motion into the joint. These mobilizations help improve the lubrication of the joint thus increasing ease of movement. Added benefits include relieving pain and tension, renewing our ability to stride when walking and running, as well as squatting and bending, and can help prevent further injury.
Learn more about various mobility options by reviewing some of the routines shared by DISC therapists.