When evaluating athletes for lower extremity injuries, it is remarkable how many have tight calves and lack range of motion in dorsiflexion. This lack of mobility is an adaptation that our athletes’ bodies have made in response to requirements of running and cutting. It can lead to changes in force absorption that can contribute to shin pain, foot pain or even anterior knee pain. A lot of these athletes can benefit from some mobility work to improve their active range of motion.Here are a couple of resources with simple, self-performed exercises that athletes can do on their own to improve that motion: Mike Boyle and Sports Medicine Research Blog.
The first involves driving the knee forward over the ankle as a self-mobilization technique, and the second is a PNF contract/relax technique to increase overall range of motion. Both can be performed quickly and simply and can assist with improving motion at the ankle.
Though athletes likely do not spend much time thinking about ankles, increasing their mobility will have a positive impact on running ability and force absorption.
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*This site is for educational purposes only, it is not meant to diagnose, treat or replace medical advice. Before starting an exercise program always make sure that you are healthy and able to do so safely.*