Standard anatomical textbook approach to our body’s joints is to identify the action; flexion, extension and rotation; and the muscle groups that control these actions. Following this identification, strength coaches identify which muscles should be trained to enhance performance in a given sport. Often this approach is applied to prime movers like the hips and knees, with the ankle as an after thought. Neglecting the ankle is a missed opportunity for creating a powerful, healthy athlete, especially if there is a misalignment, mobility or stability issue. There are many tools and positions coaches and athletes are quick to jump to in order hide ankle inadequacies, provide a false support and bypass inflexibility. Field sports differ from training in that there isn’t a simple relationship between velocity, angle and torque about a single joint in the complex movements of any sport. This becomes very evident when you begin to see the effect unhealthy joints have on an athlete’s movement when they cannot rely on the oly shoe heel on the field or toe out squat position for change of direction. The greater the potential of a joint, the greater the risk for injury and limitation.
As we learned from our previous write up about dorsiflexion, the ankle has the potential to generate a lot of force and is at a very high risk for injury if that force is applied in an unstable position. Where we can expand on this article is the tibialous anterior and calf control the ankle, which controls knee position and everything upstream. If the ankle is in a bad position or limited, our knee is then put in a bad, limited or overcompensated position. It may not stop at the knee either, forces can travel upstream to put hips, lower back and even shoulders at a risk for injury. This article will look the ankle as a connection to the knee and hips and how to increase flexibility and stability to improve alignment and prepare for the stresses of both training and playing on the field.
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
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