Personal training for the beginner

Signs You Need to Improve Ankle Mobility

Signs You Need to Improve Ankle Mobility

On a run, feeling great, out of no where there’s a weird pain in your ankle/knee. The usual response “oh it will work itself out,”  just push through it .  After the run calves are tight or maybe the dull pain comes back. You can barely walk the next day but you say “what a great run! I can really feel it.” Although it may feel like your making great progress (you know the all wise saying.. if you’re not sore you didnt do anything) these could actually be signs of something that is hindering your performance and adding up to a potential injury.

Sign of Ankle Dysfunction 1: Pain in Ankle, Knee, Hip

Pain is the most obvious sign that something is wrong. However, pain in your knee doesn’t necessarily mean the issue is your knee. Pain is a puzzle piece, the issue is the puzzle! Pain can make its way up to the knee and even the hip if the ankles are too stiff. Any time we walk, run, or jump the impact starts at the foot and ankle and then works its way up the chain. If the ankle lacks the mobility to absorb the shock of the impact it can send the shock up the chain to either the knee or hip. Leading to the knee or hip joint to overwork and compensate for the lack of mobility at the ankle leading to pain.


Sign of Ankle Dysfunction 2: Feet Turn Out

This is a big indicator that something is off. Even if you don’t feel pain, yet, with your feet turning out, it can be a sign of an injury brewing. Feet turning out is typically a sign of overactive calves and an under active anterior tibialis (shin area). If you have ever had shin splints this is one of the reasons why. This imbalance of the muscles of the lower leg causes the feet to not be able to dorsiflex properly. Lack of dorsiflexion doesn’t allow for proper force absorption when landing while running or jumping. This will also lead to the knees collapsing inward creating a lot of unwanted force at the knee joint. Repeat that motion over and over again and you have an injury waiting to happen.

Sign of Ankle Dysfunction 3: Your Calves are Always Tight

If your calves are sore or tight after each workout, there may be something wrong.  This tightness or soreness can lead to the problems described above, starting with your feet turning out and then eventually pain and injury. So be careful when going by the “feeling the burn” or “no pain no gain” theories. Though you must challenge your muscles to progress, soreness is not always a sign of positive growth. 


Stay tuned for next weeks article, tips on how to correct basic ankle dysfunction.

Written By:

Robert Jost


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