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The ankle joint is made up of two main parts: each allows upwards and downwards movements of the foot as well as rotation inwards and outwards. 
 
When performing any task that uses your legs, your ankles must play an equal part for the movement to happen. Think of the body as a well-oiled engine where everything must seamlessly work together to perform effectively. If something in the engine isn’t working as it needs, the other parts have to work a little bit harder to compensate for it so things keep running smoothly. 
 
For a short while, this isn’t a problem as our body, like the engine, is able to do this. However, over time the parts that have been working harder become more prone to requiring maintenance or repair as they break down quicker due to the excess work. 

What ankle injuries are commonly associated with this? 

Stiffness in the ankle joint can place additional strain on the muscles, and joints, of the knee, hip and lower back. Over time this can be a contributing factor in numerous injuries including Achilles tendonitis, Plantar fasciitis, ligament sprains, muscle strains, joint arthritis, and nerve impingement. 

How to maintain ankle mobility 

A great way to start reducing any muscle tightness contributing to ankle joint stiffness is through some simple stretching.  
Here are three great stretches to help with this. 

Stretch 1 

Stand close and face the wall. 
Push into the wall with your palms held up at chest height. 
Take one leg forward and keep your leg straight. 
Point your ankle upwards so that your toes are touching the wall. 
Flex ankle upwards. 

Stretch 2 

Take a big step with one foot. 
Bend the front leg while keeping your back leg straight. 
Lean forward over the bent leg, resting your hands on your thigh. 
Don’t bend your further forward than your foot. 
Make sure to keep your toes facing forward while you stretch. 

Stretch 3 

Stand close and face the wall. 
Push into the wall with your palms held up at chest height. 
Take one leg forward and bend at the knee. 
Flex your ankle upwards so that your toes are touching the wall. 
Press your toes into the wall by bending your knee a bit more. 

Consistency is key! 

Hold each stretch for 30s and repeat twice a day. Repeat on both sides. This may sound a lot, however, you can do them while brushing your teeth, making dinner, or on the phone for work – no need to find any more time in the day! 
 
If you have stiff ankle joints due to a bony block or restriction, resistance banded mobilisations can be a great addition. 

Resistance Band Mobilisation 

Kneel down with one leg lying on the ground behind you. 
Position the other leg in front of you at a right angle to your body (like a lunge). 
Put the resistance band around both ankles. 
Push forward onto your front leg. 
Hold this for 30 seconds on each side prior to the muscle stretches. 
 
These will help to get the joint moving more efficiently so you can get even more out of your stretches. 
For the most up-to-date methods on how to get you out of pain and moving more effectively, book your appointment HERE and lets get you moving! 
 
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