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Old 12-03-2008, 08:44 PM   #1
Emily Mattes
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Default Ankle/calf flexibility/mobility routine

Does anyone have any ankle/calf flexibility and mobility routines? Both the mobility and flexibility of my ankles is horrendous and the work I'm doing on them is not paying off in any meaningful way.

Things I have tried:
- Calf-stretching linked in this post. My ankles are so tight and immobile I can't get any grip from the ball of my foot on the wall--my foot slips down before I'm able to obtain any sort of stretch.

- Calf-stretching leaning against the wall and hanging off a stair or ledge

- Sitting in the bottom of a squat with a weighted bar on my knees

- Sitting in the bottom of a squat and leaning on one ankle and then the other

Part of it is my flexibility down there is poor. The other part looks like it's a mobility issue, as I feel a "pinch" in the front of my ankle before I really feel a stretch. This is weird because I've never injured the area. I did competitive swimming for a long time which made them super-flexible in the opposite direction (like pointing the toe)--could hypermobility of the joint in one direction caused decreased mobility in the opposite direction?

Or maybe I just need to keep working at it . . .
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:06 AM   #2
Steven Low
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Yeah, my previously sprained ankle has some nerve pinching going on in there but only when I do soleus stretching (bent knee). Gastroc (straight leg) seems to be fine, but then again you need the bent knee ankle flexibility in Oly so...

It may not necessarily be hypermobility = bad mobility the other way. Could be. But could also just be not-so-great genetic bone structure. No way to really tell I think.

I would try to keep on stretching it then ice it down to prevent any inflammation. At least that's what I'm going to keep on trying. Do the soleus stretch and get down in an asian squat and move around. That seems to work the best from my experience.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:37 AM   #3
Chris H Laing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily Mattes View Post

Part of it is my flexibility down there is poor. The other part looks like it's a mobility issue, as I feel a "pinch" in the front of my ankle before I really feel a stretch. This is weird because I've never injured the area. I did competitive swimming for a long time which made them super-flexible in the opposite direction (like pointing the toe)--could hypermobility of the joint in one direction caused decreased mobility in the opposite direction?
Thats exactly the same problem i've been having. I used to swim competitively, and when I try to stretch my ankles i feel the same sensation on top of my foot and front of ankle.

I've been stretching the crap outta my ankles for the last week, but have seen no improvement because it seems like every time i try to stretch my calves they get super tight, and remain that way for hours, so im also interested to see what suggestions people have.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:14 AM   #4
Allen Yeh
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Have any of you found soft tissue work to be of help down there? Like using a foam roller or tennis ball or lacrosse ball.

When doing the stretches that Kelly mentioned are you keeping your shoes on? I tried doing them sans shoes and found the same issue you're describing, I couldn't keep my foot on the wall to save my life. As soon as I slipped my shoes back on, it worked better. I'm still finding the bent leg version awkward because when I'm tensing the calf I have a tendency to straighten my leg.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:41 AM   #5
Allen Yeh
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From Kelly's blog:
Quote:
Place a block or piec of foam up under your foot for support.
If your foot is slipping could also be tight ankle capsule.
Go see a good pt for a little breathing room.

kstar
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:13 AM   #6
Kris Reeves
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Yeh View Post
Have any of you found soft tissue work to be of help down there? Like using a foam roller or tennis ball or lacrosse ball.
Yes! Two Lacrosse balls/tennis balls to work on the soleus.

For example, if you're working on the right calf...
  • sit on the floor
  • get the left leg out of the way
  • put your right leg as if you were going to sit cross-legged
  • now, put one ball under the calf muscle right in the middle (middle meaning the distance between your ankle and knee).
  • use the other ball on top...pressing/rolling/kneading it to massage the soleus.
  • keep arms straight and manipulate the top ball with the heel of your hand.
  • you can increase/decrease intensity by controlling how deep you 'lean' into it.
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:22 AM   #7
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just re-read my post...if this makes no sense I'll try to take/post pictures later today.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:16 AM   #8
Emily Mattes
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No, I haven't tried foam rolling with a tennis ball, I'll try that for a while and see if it works.
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