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Proper Ankle Range of Motion Is Important to Prevent Knee Injury comments that, “the kinetic chain is a philosophy in which the body has an alternating pattern of mobility and stability. Starting from the bottom up, the foot should be stable, the ankle should be mobile, the knee should be stable, and the hip should be mobile. If you cannot perform ankle dorsiflexion comfortably, it could result in knee, hip, and low back problems.”

Ankle dorsiflexion is a range of motion term that means the ability to move your foot toward the shin. A way to measure the maximum range of motion of ankle dorsiflexion is the knee-to-wall test, which has the participant face a wall – placing the toes of their test foot on a tape measure aligned perpendicular to the wall.

The participant moves the toes several centimeters back from the wall. Then slightly lunges forward, such that their knee touches the wall. The foot is then moved along the tape measure, away from the wall 1 cm at a time, until unable to touch the wall with their knee – without lifting the heel off the ground. Test with the other foot. There should be no ankle or Achilles tendon discomfort, only a mild stretch.

Ankle Dorsiflexion Stretch:

Assume a kneeling lunge position – with the forward leg bent to 80-degrees and the knee of the trailing leg on the floor – with the leg stretched out with the top of the foot facing the ground. Place the shoulder on the same side as the lead leg against the top of the bent knee. Lean in with the shoulder – causing the knee to move over or slightly past the toes. You can adjust the lead foot or move the training knee back to gain a stretch in heel area – without lifting the heel. Hold for a 10-count, release, and repeat twice. Perform with the other ankle. There should be no ankle or Achilles tendon discomfort during the stretch.

Mackie and April share exercises every Wednesday on WWL-TV