The human body is comprised of a sequence of mobile and stable joints. When one joint is not functioning as designed, the force shifts to a different joint. Different from flexibility, mobility is the ability to move a joint freely: If a joint is not moving properly, it cannot be controlled.
Over the next four weeks, the Get Fit Tip will highlight the four major joints that should be mobile: ankle, hip, thoracic spine (middle section of the spine) and shoulder. I’ll also provide a few exercises you can do at your desk or at home. For more detailed, functional movement screening, talk with an exercise specialist or physical therapist.
About the Ankle
The ankle moves in all directions and supports the load of our bodies daily. This joint likes to move! Limited movement in the ankle can translate to knee pain, hip pain or a series of other issues. Remember that everything is connected and influences other areas of the body.
Test your Ankle Mobility Assume a lunge position with the front of your toes 4-5” away from the wall, keep your heel on the floor and bring your knee forward. If your knee touches the wall, mobility in that direction is good.
Exercises to Improve Ankle Mobility
Ankle flexion at the desk: Use a big book or other object, place heels on the floor and toes up. You will feel a stretch through the calves.
Lunge stretch: In a lunge position, press the front heel into the ground, feeling a stretch. Move your knee in slightly different angles to feel different stretches.
Want more info? Check out these websites:
The Joint by Joint Approach & Expanding on the Joint by Joint Approach. Source: Cook, Gray. Movement: Functional Movement Systems. Aptos: On Target Publications. 2010.