Do This, Not This (#4): Acute Ankle Injuries and Dorsiflexion

Ankle injuries suck. Especially serious ones that put us on crutches. 

It's not until we have cabin fever and sore armpits from the crutches that we really begin to appreciate the importance of the ankle for everyday life.  

The ankle is very complex. And necessary for just about every daily movement. But it doesn't have to take 7 years to feel better.  

In fact, most ankle sprains can get better in a few weeks. And most can feel better in just a few days. 

One common exercise is pain free ankle dorsiflexion-plantarflexion AROM.

While this exercise can be very helpful, if done wrong it can set in inefficient movement patterns (see video below for visual explanation).

The Wrong Way

A loss of ankle dorsiflexion mobility is a common finding in ankle sprain patients. Whether its the chicken or the egg is up for debate. But the lack of range of motion usually exists nonetheless. 

The problem is that many patients will compensate around their stiff ankles with excessive eversion/pronation (outward motion).

In medical jargon, they’re using subtalor motion in substitution of talocrual motion.

If this becomes a habit it can lead to dynamic vagus tendencies and increase the risk of future injuries.

The Right Way

It helps to imagine two planes of glass on each side of the foot as you movethe ankle up and down. 

This will help to ensure that the motion comes from the proper place (talocrual joint).

It might be difficult at first, but grooving this pattern will really make a difference in the long run.