Your ankles were meant to move! I know…duh, right? But you’d be surprised by how many athletes I work with that have very tight and immobile feet and ankles. And this is not a good thing. Let’s show those ankles a little love!
We want mobility in the foot and hip, in order to protect the knee (among other things). But what happens when the foot/ankle is tight? Well, this can lead to the hip trying to take on the task to make up for it, with the poor knee stuck in the middle! (Not to mention ankle roll issues etc. An overly stiff foot is a roll just waiting to happen) You want healthy range of motion of the foot and ankle, as it literally sets the foundation for the rest of your body.
At some point, most athletes have experienced an ankle roll or sprain at some point. And runners – especially trail runners – know this all too well. Here is a great little exercise to separate the movement of the ankle and hip, to see what kind of ROM you really have in that ankle joint.
By externally rotating the leg and getting it into neutral, and then working on inverting and everting the foot WITHOUT movement of the hip, you can really see what kind of ROM and mobility you have in the ankle without good ol’ mister hip coming to the rescue. Give it a go! Do you find you have less lateral movement in your ankle when you don’t allow the hip to play?