Dorsiflexion for Injury Prevention

Jun 23, 2017 | Fitness

View of a runner's shoes

By Joey Levine, Personal Trainer

Here’s a simple test for you. Look down at your feet. Do they point straight ahead, or do they point outward? If they point straight, congratulations, you passed; if they point outward, it means you need to work on your dorsiflexion.

So what is dorsiflexion? Although the term sounds like it might be the newest technology in active clothing, dorsiflexion is actually related to ankle flexibility and the ability to pull you r toes toward your shin. For example, when we walk, one ankle should be in dorsiflexion while the other is in plantar flexion (raising the heel off the ground). Believe it or not, most of us can’t do this.

While dorsiflexion is emphasized by athletes who sprint and during plyometric exercises like squats, it’s important for everyone to work on it. Not doing so could lead to various muscular and mobility issues and result in serious injury. So how could something seemingly unimportant cause so much damage? It’s a domino effect.

The first problem to arise — or domino to fall — is calf tightness. Calves become such a dominant muscle that pronation (feet pointing outward) happens. Once your feet are in pronation, your arches will eventually collapse and you’ll have zero stability in your foot. Arch supports help, but here’s the hitch: You’re only masking the problem, not getting rid of the root of the cause.

Next is quadriceps dominance. This essentially gives your hamstrings and glutes a day off … for the rest of your life. Since both of these muscles are the pillars of the spine, your lower back will succumb to chronic pain. For good measure, don’t forget to add in a sprinkle of knee pain and stability, as well as shoulder and neck pain.

When the pain sets in, your doctor will prescribe rest and maybe painkillers, but that’s just a temporary fix, like putting a band-aid on an infected wound without cleaning it first. You won’t see it that way initially, but a few years down the road, that pain will amass and develop into a serious injury.

If you’re already experiencing any of these symptoms, the good news is that it’s not too late to reverse them. And if they’re not occurring yet, now’s the best time to work on dorsiflexion. Next time you’re in the club, try this quick five-minute regimen:

Ankle Mobility

Put your foot on a one-inch surface. Make sure your heel stays on the ground the entire time. Push your knee over your toe as far you can without letting your heel come up, and go back and forth. Do this 10-15 times per side per day.

Duck Walks

Put your heels on the ground and point your toes as high as you can without locking your knees. Keep a slight bend on the knees and start walking, keeping your toes pointed until you feel a slight burn in the shins. Some people mistake this for shin splints, but it’s actually the tibialis anterior activating, which allows the toes to pick up off the ground.

Step-Ups

Find a box at a height that you’re comfortable with and put your foot on top of it. (If you don’t have a box, a step will do.) Make sure your foot is in dorsiflexion before you step up. Ensure that all your weight is on your heel, squeeze your butt, and step up. When you go back down, make sure to maintain your front knee forward, as you never want to rock back.

As the quote goes, “You don’t move well because you’re fit; you’re fit because you move well.” So no matter if you’re an elite sprinter or just a casual gym-goer, dorsiflexion is essential to your health and one of the movements you should be improving on the daily.


Joey Levine headshot

Joey Levine is a Personal Trainer at Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek who uses his athletic experience and training knowledge to help his clients get to and exceed the goals that they desire. Joey uses different methods and techniques depending on the client’s wants and needs and makes fitness a fun, enjoyable, and rewarding experience.

All Articles

Unlock the Power of Togetherness with the Friends Resort Membership

Unlock the Power of Togetherness with the Friends Resort Membership

In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining connections with our loved ones can be a challenge. Recognizing this, ClubSport has introduced an exciting new membership option – the Friends Resort Membership. This innovative membership allows you to share your fitness journey with someone in or outside your household, such as a friend, colleague, cousin, or your favorite person while enjoying reduced dues per member. Let’s explore the myriad benefits of this new membership type and how it can transform your fitness experience.

read more
Improving Your Squat to Achieve Peak Performance

Improving Your Squat to Achieve Peak Performance

Squats are a cornerstone exercise in many fitness routines, renowned for their ability to build strength, enhance muscle tone, and improve overall physical performance. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or someone just starting their journey towards better health, improving your squat technique and strength can offer a multitude of benefits. In this blog post, we’ll delve into why squats are so vital and provide a comprehensive workout plan to help you elevate your squat game.

read more
5 Ways to Celebrate Self-Care at ClubSport

5 Ways to Celebrate Self-Care at ClubSport

Did you know July 24 is International Self-Care Day? It’s the perfect reminder to prioritize our physical and mental well-being. In our busy lives, finding time for self-care can be tough, but that’s where ClubSport comes in! With a huge array of fitness options and indulgent spa services, self-care has never been easier or more convenient. From working out to winding down, ClubSport is here to support your health and wellness journey.

read more
20-Minute Full Body Blast

20-Minute Full Body Blast

If you’re looking for a quick, efficient, and effective workout to fit into your busy schedule, look no further! This 20-Minute Full Body Blast combines the power of rowing with a series of targeted exercises designed to work every major muscle group. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, this routine will help you build strength, endurance, and flexibility.

read more