If you are having knee pain while your squat or run, the issue may not be just your aching knees.  The knees are affected by the joints above and below them. In case of the knees, this means the hip joint and the ankle joint.  We will look at the hips another day, so today let’s talk about the ankle.

The ankle is comprised of the tibia, fibula, calcaneus, and the talus. These bones along with the muscles, ligaments, and tendons associated with them make up the ankle joint and provide us the ability to run, jump, and walk.

Ankle-anatomy-lateral-anterior-view

photo courtesy of:  http://ehealthhall.com/ankle-anatomy.html

Over time, the ankle can become tight, immobile, and painful. As a result, this causes a domino effect along the kinetic chain which can lead to knee and/or hip pain, and possible even back pain. What causes the tightness? Running, cycling, or any activity in which there is a constant repetitive stress placed upon the ankle, especially when the ankle is not allowed to move through it’s full range of motion or it can’t due to a lack of flexibility of the surrounding muscles, or lack of mobility in the ankle joint itself.  Muscular imbalances between the muscles in the back of the lower leg (calves, soleus, etc.), and the front of the leg (shine muscles – anterior tibialis) will also play a role as well.

The following program will help establish flexibility, mobility, and strength for the ankle:

Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling) Exercises:

  • Bottom of Foot – find tender spot and hold as long as needed to reduce tenderness.
  •        Calves: same as above

Flexibility: 10-12 times per leg, hold each stretch for a slow count of 2-3.

  • Calves

Mobility:

  • Band Distracted Ankle Mobility (3 Directions) – 5 times in each direction
  • 10-12-2 Mobility  – 5 times in each direction
  • Wobbleboard – 10-12 times per direction

Strength

  • Dorsiflexion (Toe Raise) – 15-20 reps
  • Eccentric Calf Drop – 6-8 per leg
  • Arch Builder – 10-15 per foot

Dynamic Flexibility/Mobility

  • Leg Swings – 15 per leg

Here is a video detailing our ankle program:

Try the program out and let us know what you think! Leave a comment below.

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Author: Dave Radin

 

 

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