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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ankle Mobility And Movement - It's Important stuff.





Ankle mobility is a crucial for success in movement for athletics and daily life. There are numerous factors that influence ankle mobility. Injuries are one of the top factors. Ankle sprains are the most common injury in sporting events. Due in part to the large number of ankle sprain injuries, ankle mobility has become a very important topic in the medical, athletic and fitness fields (Zouita, A., Majdoub, O., Ferchichi, H., Grandy, K., Dziri, C., Ben Salah, F., 2013).

I have had flat feet all of my life. I have suffered from strained leg muscles, plantar fasciitis and sprained ankles as well as numerous other injuries. Ankle mobility has been a limiting factor that I have had to battle constantly. Good shoes, arch supports, flexibility training and strength training has been the recipe that fixed my foot issues. Flexibility is my current limitation with ankle mobility and I have to address that daily. Form, technique and posture are also important when talking about ankle mobility, especially in regards to fitness and sports.


Without proper ankle mobility, stability and range of motion, a person’s ability to execute common and complex movements or exercises becomes very limited and opens the door to many possible injuries. Ankle mobility issues stem from several sources including previous ankle injuries, flexibility issues, muscular imbalances, postural deficiencies and genetic defects (Sharma, N., Sharma, A., Sandhu, J., 2011).

Poor ankle mobility can have an impact on the entire body as well. The entire kinetic chain can be influenced by limitations of the ankle. Overuse and compensation injuries as well as postural and muscular imbalance issues can all be affected by a lack of mobility in the ankle. The knee is especially vulnerable to impairment and injury as a result of ankle mobility issues (Ota, S., Ueda, M., Aimoto, K., Suzuki, Y., Sigward, S., 2013).
 

Assessments, flexibility training, proprioceptive training and resistance training are some of the methods that have been shown to be effective in preventing injuries and improving ankle mobility, range of motion and stability. Many people neglect ankle mobility training and develop issues as a result. By including ankle mobility training in a person’s fitness training program, injuries can be avoided and performance in both athletics and daily life activities can be improved. This would also reduce pain and discomfort and increase a person’s quality of life. Ankle mobility is a critical factor in human movement and should not be neglected (Zouita, A., Majdoub, O., Ferchichi, H., Grandy, K., Dziri, C., Ben Salah, F., 2013).

References:

Sharma, N., Sharma, A., Sandhu, J. (2011). Functional Performance Testing in Athletes with Functional Ankle Instability. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol 2, No 4.

Young, R., Nix, S., Wholohan, A., Bradhurst, R., Reed, L. (2013). Interventions for increasing ankle joint dorsiflexion: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Foot & Ankle Research.

Zouita, A., Majdoub, O., Ferchichi, H., Grandy, K., Dziri, C., Ben Salah, F. (2013). The effect of 8-weeks proprioceptive exercise program in postural sway and isokinetic strength of ankle sprains of Tunisian athletes. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 56, 634–643.

Ota, S., Ueda, M., Aimoto, K., Suzuki, Y., Sigward, S. (2013). Acute influence of restricted ankle dorsiflexion angle on knee joint mechanics during gait.

Eric Dempsey
NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Weight Loss Specialist
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