Ankle Joint Mobility: Soft Tissue Work

In a previous post, we covered a self-guided assessment to see if you have adequate ankle mobility. If you have yet to watch that video or read about the assessment, you can do that here.

In the video below, we cover soft-tissue mobilization of the posterior calf musculature. But for those of you that like to read, we will also explain via text as well.

If you did not have a joint-pinching sensation in the ankle self-assessment, but were unable to achieve 3-5 inches, OR you had significant stretching in the back of your calves, then you would benefit from theses soft-tissue mobilizations described below.

Foam Rolling & Soft-Tissue Work Explained

When doing any foam rolling or soft-tissue work, it is important to realize the purpose. The purpose of foam rolling, lacrosse ball smashing, and mobility stick rolling, is not to break up scar tissue or adhesions. Rather, the purpose is for relaxation via the nervous system. The sensations provided by these techniques is interpreted by the brain and the brain sends out signals back to the muscles, telling the muscles to relax. Knowing this, it is important to dose these techniques properly. The minimal effective dosage for foam rolling, and soft-tissue work like this is around 30-60 seconds. Anything more, you are likely wasting your time or solely doing it for please (which is fine if you have the time).

Be sure to use these techniques along your entire calve muscles on the back side of your leg. You can even perform on the sides of your legs if you like. Make sure to include your Achilles tendon as well.

Remember, it is best to implement an active strategy after performing these soft-tissue mobilizations. We want to gain strength AND control in these newly gained ranges of motion. And this is done through active strengthening!

Here are a few great ways to incorporate strengthening into your newly acquired ranges of motion:

1) Ankle PAILs / RAILs

2) Eccentric Calf Lowering


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