Do You Have Enough Ankle Range Of Motion?

Often when I am assessing my clients with walking and when performing a range of exercises such as the lunge and squat, one of the key areas that I am looking to assess is ankle mobility, especially with closed chain dorsiflexion.


How Much Dorsiflexion Should I Have?

A recent blog post that I was reading by Chiropractor Kevin Maggs reported that the normative data for closed chain ankle dorsiflexion varies from study to study, with some saying a range of 5-20cm whereas others reported 9.5cm.  As a general rule I will be looking for around 10cm with the clients I assess and will be looking for any asymmetry.  As part of the ankle assessment it is also important to assess the structures around the ankle that might be contributing, such as tightness in the gastrocnemius, soleus and other soft tissues as well as assessing the joint itself for any anterior impingement and stiffness through the ankle and foot joints.


What Exercises Do You Need A Good Range Of Ankle Mobility?

The squat, lunge, step up/down, jumping, hopping and walking and stair walking are all movements that require a good range of closed chain dorsiflexion.  A lack of ankle mobility when performing these movements means that one is likely to compensate and cheat this movement from other parts of the body.  This may result in other soft tissues or joints taking on extra workload. Whilst the body is very capable of adapting and working around these issues, often if the individual is wanting to train regularly with the squat, deadlift, olympic lifting, lunging etc, it is important to address this so to allow the individual to hit key positions and reduce the risk of them developing an injury.


How Can You Assess Ankle Dorsiflexion?

The following video has been sourced from YouTube.


Tips To Improving Ankle Mobility

It is important to identify why you might have limited ankle range of motion.

Strategies to improve ankle mobility can involve:

  • Static or dynamic stretching of the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus)
  • Foam roller or myofascial release with other tools i.e. lacrosse ball into the calf complex
  • Powerband closed chain ankle dorsiflexion (helping to reduce anterior impingement)

Below is a great video from Dan Pope on simple strategies to improve ankle mobility. This video was sourced from YouTube.


Below is another great short video from Ryan Saplan that was sourced from YouTube.


Dynamic Calf Complex Mobility from the Gray Institute, video sourced from YouTube.


For Those Interested In Reading More About The Ankle

Biomechanics of the foot and ankle –

Clinicians guide to ankle dorsiflexion –


This blog was written by Osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.


Principle Four Osteopathy

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics.

The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.