A loss in ankle dorsiflexion can be a big problem.
One of the common problems it causes is dynamic valgus collapse of the lower extremity.
In other words, the body compensates and the whole leg rotates inward, making it more vulnerable to injuries.
This isn't only seen in the clinic.
A recent meta-analysis showed a strong correlation between ankle dorsiflexion loss and dynamic valgus. Or in layman's terms, having a stiff ankle will cause bad adaptations up the chain.
Here's a buffet of exercises to improve restricted ankle dorsiflexion.
Find which one works best for you. And do it often.
1. Histological Calf Stretch
Make true tissue change with this stretch.
2. Band Assisted (Mulligan MWM)
Use a band to focus on the tight joint.
3. Seated Ankle Dorsiflexion
This is an easy one to do at work. It also strengthens the opposite side (anterior tibialis)
4. Wall Stretch
Another one that's easy to do anywhere. It'll also mobilize the hallux (big toe).
5. Pistol Squat Mobilization
This is pattern specific for those looking to improve their squat.
6. Supine Ankle Circles
Grab a lot of different tissues (nerves, connective tissue, muscle, fascia, ect.) with this stretch.
7. Foot Dissociation
This makes sure we don't compensate with our toes to get our foot mobility.
8. Nerve Tensioner
Sometimes it's just the nerves that are tight.
Sometimes strengthening while lengthening is the answer.
There are many paths to the top of the mountain.
Find which one of these works best.
If none of them do, then you probably need a better assessment.