Lower leg corrective exercise routine.

Here’s a very quick corrective routine for the lower leg, specifically to address limited ankle mobility.

I’m posting this very quickly for a client, and will come back and flesh it out soon!

Caused by overactive calf muscle, which shortens and does not allow dorsiflexion (pulling the toe upwards towards the knee). Results in underactive Tibialis anterior, the muscle responsible for dorsiflexion.

Observed by forward lean in the overhead squat assessment, which disappears when heels are blocked up. Further testing will show an inability to touch a knee against a wall with foot flat on the floor when the foot is 5″ away from the wall.

Important in proper leg mechanics, and especially in activities or sports where triple extension is a basic movement pattern such as running, athletics, football etc.

Stage 1: RELEASE  – painful trigger point usually on outside of the calf muscle, 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up. Hold on sore spot for between 60-120 seconds, or until release is felt.

calf muscle release

calf muscle release with roller

Stage 2: STRETCH – use the roller or a yoga block to elevate the ball of the foot. Keep the leg straight, squeeze the quad and keep the hip forward (don’t lean forward or you’ll lost the stretch). Hold for 60 seconds each leg, repeat.

Calf stretch

Calf stretch using roller.

Stage 3: ACTIVATE – lay with leg raised on roller with band around toes from a solid anchor point. Position yourself with leg straight with tension on the band and move your toes towards you slowly. 20 reps, 5 second isometric hold on the last rep. Repeat x2.

Tibialis anterior activation

Tibialis anterior activation using band and roller.

Stage 4: INTEGRATE – walk on your heels for 30 seconds, repeat after 30 seconds normal walking. This helps to assimilate the previous interventions into a movement pattern.

heel walking

Heel walking integration exercise.

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