When you’re a kid playing soccer, an ankle sprain is a common occurrence. If you’re like 16-year-old me, you probably paused momentarily, slapped some ice on it, and then continued on your merry way. But a lifetime of sprained ankles and stiff-soled-shoe-wearing can cause the ankle joint to become very stiff and restricted.
I can’t even recall the number of times I sprained my ankle playing soccer growing up. My last sprained ankle left me in a boot and on crutches for a few days (note that rain and Ugg boots do not mix well). Beyond some ice and minimal rest, as soon as I could walk I was back to my normal routine.
I didn’t even realize how stiff and limited it was until AFTER I tried this mobilization and felt the difference! Even if you didn’t play sports growing up, you probably have taken a wrong step or fallen and felt the pull of of tendons around your ankle joint.
Stiffness in any joint is an issue for the surrounding joints because they will have to become even more mobile to make up for the lack. After an injury, your brain will stiffen and tighten the surrounding soft tissues to brace and protect the area from further injury.
This ankle joint mobilization is super easy to set up and will do wonders to improve your ankle range of motion. When your ankles are moving well, the rest of your lower body joints (you know, the ones involved with every single step you take) will be very happy.
Grab a chair and your favorite pair of toted Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls. A pair of tennis balls in a sock will do, but lack the needed grip for the fascial stretch over the top of the ankle. I’m using the Therapy Ball PLUS in the video.
This mobilization helps to rehydrate and stretch the fascia over the top of the ankle, known as the extensor retinaculum, which stabilizes and protects the tendons and ligaments over the top of the ankle joint. After numerous injuries to the ligaments (ankle sprains) or limited motion in the joint in general, the extensor retinaculum can get a bit “sticky” and in need of a refresh. Don’t worry if it has been years, it is never too late to improve the pliability of your connective tissue.
Spend about 2 minutes on each side trying to move your foot and ankle through as many different ankle positions as possible and make sure you recheck your ankle range of motion after or between sides. A squat is a great way to check, but even just walking will help highlight the difference and improvement you’ve created.
Enjoy your new mobile ankles with this ankle sprain relief!
Have you ever sprained an ankle? What did you do after for recovery?