Centerworks Blog

Ankle Mobility for a Healthy Hinge to Walk and Run Well

runnerImprove Your Foot Fitness to Stay Safe and Injury-Free with Better Ankle Movement

Healthy feet and ankles aren’t just for athletes…  Everybody needs to pay attention to foot fitness to stay healthy, active, and pain-free, and having a good hinge from the ankle is what helps us balance better, and push off the ground to propel the body forward when we move.

Yes, calf stretching plays a part in effective ankle hinging, but if you think about it, getting a good stretch is a side benefit of finding a good free hinge action from the ankle joint.  Using the springs on the Reformer, Tower and Chair in Pilates is a great way to free up the ankle and get your “hinge” moving well.  Pilates exercises like Footwork, Stomach Massage, Running, Tower, Monkey and even some Matwork are perfect opportunities to practice a good flexed foot!

Here is ONE Simple Secret to Improve Your Ankle Mobility for a Better Hinge:

Lead from the HEEL when you flex your ankle.

Are you aware of what you’re doing when you flex your feet?

When you pull the toes back first to flex the foot (whether you’re stretching, walking, or running) it actually restricts your movement from the ankle.  And, if you walk and run a lot (1/2 marathon or full marathon distances) and have trouble keeping your toenails on, leading from your toes to flex the foot when you heel strike may be a contributing factor for your pretty, purple and falling off toenails!

For a free and easy hinge, the tendons and ligaments in the front of the ankle have to release.  (Similar to the grippy Hip Flexor muscles at the other end of the leg!)

  • Lead from the toes and the front of the ankle will grip.
  • Lead from the heel and you’ll discover mobility for a whole new hinge at the ankle!

Of course you might discover that your calf or hamstring flexibility is a limiting factor in how far you can hinge, which is something else to work on…  But aside from that, the goal is a good open joint that has freedom of movement available for you for everything you want to do.

Here’s Another Tip:  For any joint, if you want to improve range in one direction, it’s best to work the joint in all directions!  And the ankle is definitely a multi-directional mover.  You may discover by stretching and strengthening medial/lateral ankle movement, that your hinge to flex the foot and stretch the calf will improve more easily.

One of the best tools I’ve found to work on freedom of movement at the ankle (in all directions) is the Super-Ankles Foot Fit Board.  Stretching is great (but we’re usually non-weight bearing.)  Pilates is great, working the springs can be non- to semi-weight bearing.  A traditional “wobble” board – when you’re standing and balancing (whether it’s one leg or two) you’re actually tensing up at the ankles trying to find your balance, more than working on functional mobility for the foot and ankle, so it’s an entirely different purpose.  PLUS traditional “wobble” boards aren’t designed for you to really work on safe and healthy movement of the ankle – with most boards, the range of motion your ankle would move in if you wobbled to one edge of the board might increase rather than reduce your risk of injury.  The Super-Ankles Foot Fit Board is designed to help improve functional MOVEMENT.  It can help you develop stronger, more flexible ankles in a standing position – where we really need healthy movement habits for the feet and ankles to stand, balance, walk, hop, skip, jump, and run well.

A free and healthy hinge at the ankle may help eliminate plantar fasciitis problems, alleviate Achilles tendon issues and will help your knees and hips stay healthy.   Lots of good reasons to focus on your feet and ankles to fine-tune your footwork for a healthy hinge!

Do you have Super-Ankles, and a healthy hinge?

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Click Here To Get YOUR Super-Ankles Foot Fit Board NOW!
(Includes Super-Ankles Foot Fit Board, Exercise Booklet, and Workout DVD.)

OR, Get a RunFit Kit  Perfect for walkers and runners.  Filled with everything you need to keep your feet fit!  The RunFit Kit includes the Super-Ankles Foot Fit Board AND MORE…

Posted by Aliesa George in Foot Care & Foot Fitness and tagged , , , , , , , .

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