How to Fix Your Pinchy Ankle

Technical terms for a minute: 

osteokinematic motion at the ankle = flexion / extension

arthrokinematic motion at the ankle = glide/slide In other words, all joints go through osteo and arthrokinematic motions.

With dorsiflexion, there is also a glide/slide, or the distal end of the tibia would smash into the top of the talus Most joint mobilizations take these glides/slides move with these motions, but not always 😉

Here is 1 of 2 ways to improve your ankle dorsiflexion and stop the ankle pinch. I've seen this first mobilization done differently (with the band pulling from behind).

This really doesn't make any sense to me because the talus is fixed while the tibia and fibula need to move forward🤔.

Therefor the band pulls the tib-fib joint forward on the fixed talus. 

Here’s the next fix to help improve your ankle dorsiflexion. During dorsiflexion, the distal fibula (the outside of your ankle) needs to move out of the way because the anterior talus is larger than the posterior Is this what you need?

Hard to say, but you can do a quick test. Put your bare-foot up to a wall.

Keeping your heel on the ground, bring your knee to the wall. If you can’t reach the wall - 🙈. You should be able to though. Continue to nudge your foot back until you can no longer get your knee to the wall.

Try this mobilization, and assess again.

The Butt Wink

 
 This is an image of the lumbar spine with its disks and sacrum and pelvis. Do you butt wink?

The Butt Wink🍑😉 

We've been spending a lot of time on instagram talking about hip mobility, but haven't talked too much about disorders and movement faults that can happen as a result of limited mobility.  Mobility is a prerequisite for moving well, but having mobility doesn't mean that you automatically can or will move well😕  For example, let say your pelvis tilts posteriorly (butt winks) before you get to the bottom of your squat.  This MAY be because of limited glute or posterior capsule mobility.  BUT, maybe not!  What, you say?!? Listen up - you might butt wink before you run out of your actual hip range because your nervous system doesn't know how to effectively move through your available motion with a neutral spine.  Got it🤔 
 
Anyways, we'll get more into the strength and motor control demands in some different posts. Promise.

Your spine attaches directly to your pelvis. Whatever your pelvis does, your spine follows. What's happening when you see the dreaded "butt wink" during a squat or deadlift, is the pelvis rotating posteriorly. Your spine follows suit, going into flexion and putting compressive pressure onto the anterior part of the disc, vertebrae and facet joints. Now add whatever weight you are squatting/deadlifting and those forces grow exponentially. This is the most common mechanism for disc herniations😱☠️😱 
 
You can fix this by working on the flexibility and joint mobility in the hips and ankles as well as spending some time on the actual movement mechanics. 
 
Stay tuned to our instagram account for 🎥  of techniques to mobilize the hip and get deeper into your squats without destroying your back. 

 

Stiff Ankles = PROBLEMS (Ankle Motor Control)

 

Movement starts from the 👟 up!  We’ve posted a few videos on how to improve your ankle ROM over the past few weeks.  This final video in the series shows you how to own that new range of motion.  Without teaching your body how to effectively use the new range, it will continue to fall into the same restricted movement patterns, and all of that stretching will go to 💩!

Eccentric strength through ankle dorsiflexion ROM is essential.  In fact, EMG studies show that the gastrocs soleus complex (our calves) are most active in the gait cycle when slowing down our tibias as they move over our feet in the stance phase.    Translation- our calf muscles need to be the strongest when controlling and slowing down our bodies during walking (during ankle dorsiflexion), and not actuallywhen we would think they are pushing us forward (ankle plantar flexion)🤔  We’ll save that though for another post though.

Why You Pulled Your Hamstring and What You Need To Do To Prevent It

Hamstrings Complex

Biceps Femoris Long Head

Origin: Ischial tuberosity and sacrotuberous ligament

Insertion: Head of fibula

Action: Hip extension and knee flexion/external rotation

Innervation: Tibial nerve (L5-S2)

Biceps Femoris Short Head

Origin: Lateral lip of the linea aspera on the femur

Insertion: Head of the Fibula

Action: Knee flexion/ext

Innervation:  Common fibular nerve (L5-S2)

Semimembranosus

Origin:  Ischial Tuberosity

Insertion: Medial tibial condyle, oblique popliteal ligament, popliteus fascia

Action:  Hip extension and knee flexion/internal rotation

Innervation:  Tibial nerve (L5-S2)

Semitendinosus

Origin:  Ischial tuberosity and sacrotuberous ligament

Insertion: Medial to the tibial tuberosity in the pes anserinus

Action:  Hip extension and knee flexion and internal rotation

Innervation: Tibial nerve (L5-S2)

So?  If you have ever pulled your hamstring, you know that it sucks.  You can be sidelined for 2-8 weeks depending on the part of the hamstring you pulled.   You’re looking at 2-4 weeks if the pain is in the middle of your leg, and 6-8 weeks if the pain is higher up your leg, where it connects to the ischial tuberosity.  Hamstring strains usually occur when the hamstrings are trying to slow your femur down as it moves forward at a fast rate of speed, like in running, sprinting, or kicking.  Your hamstrings are primarily knee flexors, but three out of the four are also hip extensors.  When your glutes aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing and slowing down hip flexion, your hamstrings are left to do more work than they can handle, and you end up being hamstrung.  Add “prevent hamstring strains” to the list of reasons why you should be working your glutes at the gym!  And also don’t forget to do this awesome eccentric hamstring exercise.  

 


Leg Day - If Your House Has Stairs, I’m Staying In The Car

 

QUADRICEPS FEMORIS

Rectus Femoris

Origin: Anterior inferior iliac spine and the acetabular roof of the hip joint

Insertion:  Tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament

Innervation: Femoral nerve (L2 - L4)

Action: Hip - flexion
            Knee - extionsion

Vastus Medialis

Origin: Linea aspera (medial lip), and the distal intertrochanteric line

Insertion: Tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament

Innervation: Femoral nerve (L2 - L4)

Action: Knee extension

Vastus Lateralis

Origin: Linea aspera (lateral lip) and the lateral surface of the greater trochanter

Insertion: Tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament

Innervation: Femoral nerve (L2 - L4)

Action: Knee extension

Vastus Intermedius

Origin: Anterior side of femoral shaft

Insertion: Tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament

Innervation: Femoral nerve (L2 - L4)

Action: Knee extension

So?  These four muscles make up the quadriceps femoris.  They all attach to your patella (knee cap) via your quadriceps tendon, and continue down to your tibia via the patellar ligament (tendon?).  The patella gives the quadriceps muscles a major mechanical advantage by increasing their leverage, which basically allows the quads to do approximately 30% more work with the same effort.  However, all of those forces created when extending (straightening) your knee are directed into the patellofemoral joint surfaces - where the patella and femur (thigh bone) meet.  With overuse, this joint breaks down and/or can cause osteoarthritis.  To help slow the breakdown of cartilage in your knee, don’t forget to use your glutes when doing things like going up/down stairs and anytime you sit down, stand up or squat. The more your glutes help out, the less your quads have to work.  The less your quads work, the happier your knee joint will be.

Leg Day - Calves

 

GASTROCNEMIUS

Origin:  Medial and lateral epicondyles of the femur

Insertion:  Calcaneal tuberosity via the Achilles tendon

Innervation: Tibial nerve (S1, S2)

Action:  Ankle (talocrural joint) - plantar flexion
      Knee - flexion

SOLEUS

Origin:  Posterior surface of the head and neck of the fibula and the soleal line of the tibia via a tendinous arch

Insertion:  Calcaneal tuberosity via the Achilles tendon

Innervation: Tibial nerve (S1, S2)

Action:  Ankle (talocrural joint) - plantar flexion

What does that mean?  The gastrocnemius is the muscle with two heads, and is the one that people like to flex and show off.  It crosses both your knee and ankle joint, and is best strengthened with the knee straight.  When you bend the knee, you put the gastrocs on slack, and at this length/tension relationship, the gastrocs are not very effective at plantar flexing the ankle.  
The soleus is a flat muscle (google sole fish) that lays under the two heads of the gastrocs.  Just because you don’t see this muscle when you’re flexing, doesn’t mean it’s not important.  The soleus helps give your gastrocs some bulk, and helps them pop.  Strengthen your soleus by doing resisted ankle plantar flexion with your knee bent.
Collectively, the gastrocs and soleus are known as the triceps surae.  They both have a distal tendinous junction at the Achilles tendon.  Both muscles are extremely important in gait and dynamic activities, and both become ineffective with an Achilles tear.