Tight, glued-up ankles are common amongst runners. Running itself can contribute to the problem, and the possible negative consequences of stiff ankles in runners are varied and far-reaching, including valgus knee collapse, foot arch problems, plantar fascia stress, and a multitude of upstream injuries to the knees and hips, as well as to the ankles themselves. Stiff ankles will also impede your running technique, meaning energy leaks and ultimately worse running performance. The lesson here; it’s definitely worth assessing your ankle mobility, and spending some time ungluing this important joint.
Why Are The Ankles Important In Running?
Unlike perhaps the importance of arm drive, or of shoulder and back mobility for runners, the critical role of the ankles in running ought to be fairly obvious to everyone. The ankles connect your feet to your lower limbs. If this connection is not functioning optimally, it can create problems in both directions.
How Do Stiff Ankles Affect Running?
Stiff ankles will impede the dispersal of the impact forces upon landing, meaning higher impact with every step, and all the potential issues high impact creates. In addition, nice, healthy, mobile ankles will positively contribute to the transmission of force during the push-off phase. Stiff ankles will therefore do a poorer job of absorbing impact and generating force; contributing to a higher injury risk and worse running performance.
What Are The Benefits Of Ungluing The Ankles?
If you are limited in your ankle range of motion (particularly in dorsiflexion – moving your foot upwards towards your shin), you are leaving yourself open to a higher risk of injury, and you’re missing out on improvements to your running performance. Most modern shoes have raised heels (this includes men’s shoes), which can contribute to shortening the achilles tendon and decreasing ankle range of motion. Most people, then, will have some improvements to work towards in their ankle mobility.
So even if you’ve never had any issues with your ankles, it’s fairly likely that working to improve your ankle mobility will help to improve your running technique, and reduce your risk of injury.
Want To Improve Your Ankle Mobility?
✅ Join our Virtual Running Club and get access to our 30-Day Ankle Mobility Challenge, along with all our other 30-Day Challenges.
You’ll also benefit from:
• Training Plans tailored to your goals
• Regular Coach Tips videos
• Pilates & Yoga for Runners classes
• Constant support via our private Facebook Group
• And tons more!