Stiff ankles as well as high ankle mobility can harm you if you are an endurance athlete.  Below are some exercises which can help increase mobility (if you are on the stiff side) or strengthen your weak joints if you suffer from joint laxity. But before I tackle that let me briefly identify the primary role and the function of the feet & ankles.

  • Your feet are essential for locomotion, they anchor your body’s weight to the ground and can perform these movements: rotation, eversion, inversion
  • The ankle is a stability joint which keeps you in equilibrium when standing or walking. The ankle movements are plantarflexion and dorsiflexion.  
  • The various foot movements are controlled by tendons like the plantar fascia and and the Achilles tendon which are instrumental for walking, running and moving up on your toes. 
  • All tendons are held by ligaments whose role is to stabilize the foot. The medial and lateral ligaments around the ankle are such key ligaments.

MOBILITY EXERCISES  the link illustrates the 1st four points

  • seated, knees touching the floor, circle your feet inward and outward
  • plantarflexion - seated, knees touching the floor, move the foot down towards the floor 
  • dorsiflexion - seated, knees touching the floor, move the foot towards the body 
  • seated, knees touching the floor, keep knees and ankles together, turn your feet outward and let your soles touch 
  • wiggle toes
  • plantar fascia and Achilles tendon stretch - stand with the ball of your foot on the edge of a stool,  a treadmill, or stairs and perform an eccentric dorsiflexion allowing your heel to drop keeping your knee straight until you feel a stretch; repeat with the other leg.  


  • Place a towel on the floor and pull it in with your toes 
  • active dorsiflexion pushing against a wall (for resistance)  try to bring your leg closer to the wall while keeping the knee straight
  • active plantarflexion pushing your toes into the floor from a seated position. 
  • dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, eversion and inversion moves seated with a resistance band around your foot pulling the band in the opposite direction of the foot. The move always starts with the foot in neutral position i.e. centered or aligned with the leg, toes facing the ceiling. .

STATIC STABILITY to strengthen your lateral and medial stabilizer ligaments

  • balance on two feet with heel raised as high as possible 
  • balance standing on one foot heel raised, knee straight, body and spine erect, core in brace, gluteus tight, stretch your arms in front of you (you can hold a ball or a dumbbell) this will shift your general center of mass and further engages your stabilizers.
  • balance standing on a disk or wobble board, keep your knee straight and move the board in a circular form.
  • stand on a bossu or a mini trampoline on one leg and have someone toss a medicine ball at you from different angles (sideways; overhead; below your waist; at your chest) catch it while still on one foot.
  • balance on one leg, close your eyes and pretend your free leg is a pen and write with it an imaginary alphabet without touching the floor. If you have problems staying in balance start initially near a desk or a chair lean on it as you need to, until you are able to do it non-aided.


I normally do this routine before my runs after a short warm up. The last 2 moves help open up and condition my hip joints. 

  • walk on toes (raising heels as high as possible) 
  • walk on heels 
  • walk in eversion  
  • walk in inversion  
  • walk normal but with toes in extension (toes off the floor)
  • walk normal but with toes in flexion (toes crunched in as if you are holding the towel as in the 1st photo of this post)
  • Walk in classical ballet’s 1st position, or like a duck :)
  • Walk with feet parallel to your body, if that feels hard limit the move to a pigeon walk (toes in) ~ MFS

whoaadreambigg  asked:

Hello! I was wondering why x-rays are commonly done on pregnant animals, when they're considered dangerous for pregnant humans?

Loving this question! In general I don’t approve of radiographs on pregnant animals either, and neither does the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals–for the mom, not the puppies. This is because her hormones during this time can cause joint laxity and even luxation during positioning. And you are right, there are risks to exposing the fetus(es) to radiation. But there is one specific time when I do–and just took one yesterday, in fact!

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you have a Chihuahua that was bred about a month and a half ago–she’s at the 48 day mark, in fact! Well, around day 45 the skeletons of the pups inside her have begun to ossify. Prior to that they were cartilage models, present but utterly moot when it comes to taking radiographs because they blend in with the other soft tissues in mom’s abdomen. Day 50 is when they should be at their strongest, so I like to try and wait until then until radiographing.

Now, a Chihuahua is a tiiiiiiny dog. Her puppies surely can’t get so big they’d cause a problem, right? Wrong. If the breeding only resulted in one puppy (and sometimes often does), that puppy doesn’t compete for any nutrition or room in the mother’s abdomen. She still swells up because the puppy grows so big! So in Chihuahuas (or small breeds in general, or breeds with big heads, like Bulldogs (who don’t even whelp naturally in most cases but that’s another rant for another time)) it’s important to know if there’s only one puppy in there, or several. We can measure the widest diameter of their skull against the most narrow point of the mother’s pelvis to make sure the skull can even fit through the pelvis. If it can’t, the pup would get locked in place during a natural delivery, forcing an emergency c-section rather than a much calmer planned one where mom isn’t already stressed from trying to deliver the puppy and exhausted from failing to do so.

That’s really true of any breed, but more obvious in our tiny or otherwise weird looking ones. So why, yesterday, did I take a radiograph of a Goldendoodle?

Still for the puppy count, but for planning reasons. Without radiographs, if mom had stopped whelping after puppy nine at home, how do you know there isn’t a tenth puppy? With a radiograph, we can give a reasonably accurate head (or spine) count so that if mom stops whelping (and isn’t just taking a break) we know that something’s going on. Maybe the next puppy is stuck, maybe the next puppy is dead or even mummified, maybe she strained so hard to push the last puppy out that she ruptured her uterus and now the other puppies are actually IN her abdomen. It’s basically a way to know for sure that everyone is out. In humans, ultrasonography is pretty good at doing a head count and actually identifying problems with babies. And before the skeletons come around, we veterinarians can use the ultrasound to diagnose a pregnancy and to check fetal heart rates, which can indicate stress. But it’s really sucky at doing head counts. There isn’t as much of a “window” around the fetuses to differentiate them from the abdomen or each other (less amniotic fluid, that is), especially late in the pregnancy. And that’s why we go with the radiographs.

Annnnnd sometimes there’s water babies who defy predicting the odds, but that’s another story.