The ankle is a complex joint. It can be friendly in nature with adequate mobility and stability or an enemy that is jammed up and has no desire to move freely, causing problems elsewhere. Most people have no idea how important the ankle and its freedom of movement means to the rest of the body.
Let’s take a look at a squat motion. On the lowering phase of the squat your ankle must be able to dorsiflex properly (toes coming towards shin). If the ankle is locked and doesn’t allow this movement you may feel stuck. The upper body may fall forward or additional compensation patterns may occur. Training with these compensation patterns increases the injury cycle and trains you to actually move incorrectly.
Also, you may know someone who seems to sprain an ankle continuously then wraps it or braces it during every activity. Yes, there are reasons for this but in the end this band-aid approach limits the mobility you are trying to gain. The injury cycle continues up the chain in the knees, pelvis, low back or more.
Sticking with the mobility topic; for those of you who love running, especially trail running, think of the uneven ground you encounter, the grade of the runs and the turns. Your movement isn’t always straight ahead. You will demand that your ankle be able to tolerate the terrain. It needs to move in each plane of motion. Absorb force and shock and move from side to side. If this isn’t happening, then compensation occurs throughout the body and so do the aches and pains.
There could be many other reasons that you are suffering from a recurring injury but for those who have not thought of the importance of the ankle this could be a wake-up call. Pinching in the front of the ankle is a good sign of loss of mobility. Take steps to see your physiotherapist or chiropractor, someone who can manually assess the dysfunction.
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Rhonda Catt is a certified personal trainer in the North Okanagan.