The flexibility of your foot and ankle joints is crucial to your overall health and injury prevention. Our joints can weaken over time and become strained during even low-impact activities such as walking, especially as we age.
But why is foot and ankle flexibility important? Below, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of why foot and ankle flexibility is necessary for keeping your foot health on the right path.
Why Is Foot and Ankle Flexibility SO Important?
The ligaments and tendons in your feet and ankles act as stabilizers for all other parts of the body. They can affect your gait for better or worse, which dictates where pressure is placed.
Foot and Ankle Flexibility Helps With Balance and Adaptability
Ankle flexibility offers a safeguard against injury during quick, jarring movements including falling, rolling out, and sports. When ligaments and tendons can move fluidly without strain, people— especially seniors— are more protected from losing their balance and taking a potentially dangerous fall. This is because flexible ankles and feet can improve dorsiflexion, allowing for accurate and proper movement of your entire body.
An additional benefit of improved balance is improved adaptability to different ground surfaces. When we walk on uneven surfaces, such as up a ramp, a strong ankle can easily facilitate an adjustment of our balance to support our knees and help reduce joint strain.
Ankle and Foot Flexibility Has Many Benefits
Aside from protecting you from injury and providing stability, improved ankle and foot flexibility can:
- Lead to better strength training techniques for overall physical health.
- Increase power in your movements.
- Decrease pain after strenuous activities.
Several exercises for ankle strength and flexibility can help increase the range of motion for these joints, allowing you to reap some (hopefully all) of the mentioned benefits while reducing the consequences of poor ankle and foot flexibility.
Consequences of Low Mobility and Flexibility in the Feet and Ankles
When your range of motion in your feet is limited, this can increase the risk of injury due to stretching the tendons and ligaments beyond their natural ability. Unfortunately, there are other consequences of poor flexibility that can gradually worsen over time.
Since everything is connected, foot and back pain can be related. For example, limited ankle mobility can affect your gait when walking, running, and performing other movements. Eventually, an improper gait can affect the alignment of your spine, causing additional discomfort or pain.
Back and foot pain can put further strain on other areas of your body, such as your hips and knees, as your body tries to compensate for the discomfort while still performing the motions and movements you require.
Beyond Foot and Ankle Flexibility
While flexibility is important for an active and healthy lifestyle, you should also take any current foot pain or discomfort seriously to prevent future complications. Allowing an unusual pain to go without care can cause long- and short-term problems for your foot, ankle, and overall health.
A podiatrist can assist with all foot-related problems. After all, your feet deserve to walk with confidence, and we’re here to help. Contact us today!
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