Ankle Mobility MistakesJun 22, 2022
There are 2 joints that impact dorsiflexion at the ankle.
1) Talocrural Joint (true ankle joint)
This is the hinge joint between the tibia/fibula and the talus bone.
2) Subtalar Joint
This is where pronation (flattening the arch to accept load) happens when running.
When squatting, we want weight distributed through the heel, 1st metatarsal, and 5th metatarsal.
- To keep weight distributed through the entire foot tripod, focus on maintaining alignment with the dorsiflexion axis of the talocrural joint.
- This axis is formed by the malleoli (bumps on the sides of the ankle) and keeps the knees pointed over the toes.
- By contrast, the subtalar joint works on an oblique axis favoring knee valgus.
During the half kneeling dorsiflexion stretch...
- Focus on keeping knee in line right over top the toes.
- Pushing about 4 inches over is a good range of motion for deep squat.
- Letting the knee cave in gives more motion, but that's actually coming from the subtalar joint. So that navicular dropping down towards the ground and collapsing your arch will give you false dorsiflexion range of motion that's not truly coming from that subtalar joint.
If you line that knee up, you get a few less degrees of motion but we can maintain weight through a full tripod of the foot which will translate better to an actual squat.
While there’s nothing inherently harmful about going into a position with your knee caving in during an ankle stretch, it doesn’t stretch the calf. The motion is coming from the arch collapsing, which won’t be a stable, powerful squat position.
Maintain knee alignment over the toes even if caving the knee in gives you more motion. Once you introduce load, this will have better functional carry over to a stable, powerful squat position.
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