Check out our video here on YouTube of ankle dorsiflexion: https://youtu.be/72SCObbqkVs
The importance of ankle mobility, particularly ankle dorsiflexion, is a crucial part of how the rest of the body reacts in closed chain exercises. Immobility of the ankle joint will leave you more prone to hypermobility in other joints, like the knees or hips, to compensate for a particular movement. Let's take a single leg squat for example... A person stands on one foot and balances, then starts to lower themselves into a one legged squat position. We notice that the knee begins to collapse inward towards the midline (valgus of the knee). With this collapsing of the knee, there are a number of structures that are affected. Listing them out from the bottom to the top: poor dorsiflexion of the ankle doesn't allow for the knee to stay centralized over the foot, the knee collapses inward, which causes an external rotation of the tibia (shin bone) and an external rotation of the femur (thigh bone). This torque puts strain on the MCL (medial collateral ligament) of the knee and compresses the lateral meniscus of the knee. Moving up the chain, because of the internal rotation of the femur, the gluteus medius (next week's blog topic) and the piriformis are hanging on to maintain proper alignment of the femur, causing them to become overworked and inflamed. Let's say it's the right leg that we are performing the squat on. If the knee collapses the way that was explained, then we will naturally have an elevation of the right hip. Naturally, to compensate, the right external obliques will contract to keep the body aligned and the left shoulder will elevate to keep the body on an even plane. This then affects the cervical spine (neck). Because one shoulder is higher, the head will naturally lean to that side to maintain an even eye level and causing unnatural curvature to the neck. As you can see, there are a lot of different affected structures and possible problems that can occur, simply for having poor ankle mobility. This is shown in the picture below.
Women are at a natural disadvantage already. Because of a wider pelvic structure, a woman has a greater Q angle. The Q angle is the angle of the femur from the hip to the knee, in relation to the midline of the body. This is represented in the picture below.
I hope that this entry was useful for you and that you tune in next week for "The importance of the Gluteus Medius". Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@proactivechirobcs) and Twitter (@proactivebcs). Thank you!!