Anyone can suffer from ankle mobility problems. The ankle is one of the most used joints in the body. Here we look at what movements the foot and ankle do and the muscles used by them in movements. To help someone, you must understand your subject first.
There are a number of issues that can cause limited movement in the ankle and foot. But, before you start any massage you should access any issue thoroughly. To do this for a restricted ankle with limited movement you must understand the ankle. So lets look at the different types of movement that the ankle goes through.
- Dorsiflexion is when you bring your toes nearer to the shin. When you walk on your heels your ankle is in dorsiflexion. There are 4 muscles on the anterior (front) of the leg that produce this movement. These are from midline going out tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorum longus of the foot and fibularis (also know as peroneus) tertius.
- Plantar flexion is where the toes are pushed away from the shin. When you point your toes your ankle is in flexion. Morrison W. MD (2017) tells us lots of groups of muscles are required for flexion of the foot all of which are on the posterior (back) of the leg. These include, from superficial to deep, gastrocnemius lateral head and gastrocnemius medial head (calf muscles), plantaris, solius, flexor digitorum of the foot, flexor hallucis longus, tibialis posterial, peroneus (or fibularis) longus and peroneus (or fibularis) brevis muscles.
- Plantar inversion is where the ankle moves outward and sole of the foot moves inward, toward the body centreline. Tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior muscles cause inversion.
- Plantar eversion is the opposite movement where the ankle moves in and sole moves outward, away from the midline. Peroneus (or fibularis) longus and peroneus (or fibularis) brevis muscles cause eversion.
- Supination is where weight is on the outside of your foot says Stephens C. RN, CCRN, CPN et al (2018). The foot twists in and outward at the ankle, as when your foot lands from a stride and or you push off for a stride.
- Pronation happens when weight is on the inside of the foot. The foot twists outward and ankle inwards, as when you lift your foot to take a step.
Lee Stang, LMT, NCBTMB (2012) Unlocking the Feet: Improving Foot and Ankle Mobility [Online] Available from https://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/stang_feet.pdf (Accessed 16 July 2018)
Morrison W. M.D. et al (2017) Everything you need to know about plantar flexion [Online] Available from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318249.php (Accessed 16 July 2018)
Stephens C. RN, CCRN, CPN et al (2018) What to know about supination of the foot [Online] Available from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320582.php (Accessed 16 July 2018)