Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dorsiflexion- You need it in Walking and Running!

Dorsiflexion is the movement of the foot which is brought closer to the shin.

With the right amount of flexibility and mobility in the lower leg, you will get  ankle stability and make it possible for you to adaptable while walking or running.

With our feet in positive heel shoes most of the day, it reduces are adaptability. Our foot muscles are underused and our lower leg muscles are over used, becoming tight and restricted.

With this restriction, we lose dorsiflexion, so to get pass this restriction we either overpronate or supinate.

A pet peeve of mine is running shoe stores that video tape runners running on a treadmill of their lower leg and foot. Seeing if the foot overpronates or supinates and then selling a runner a shoe and/or an over the counter orthotic  to fix their problem. Orthotics may be a quick fix, it doesn't get to the root cause of the problem, which isn't just happening in the lower leg, but in the pelvis too

Lack of dorsiflexion doesn't just affect the foot, it affects everything above- in the knee, hip, pelvic floor,  back, etc... affecting your stability overall. When you increase dorsiflexion, it improves ankle stability.

Lack of dorsiflexion can affect not just the posterior muscles of the lower leg, but also the anterior muscles of the lower leg.When you bend you knees with your heels on the ground. It's possible to feel restriction in the back of the leg, but for some people, they can feel restriction on the front of the lower leg.
The superficial posterior compartment of the lower leg contains the gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris, this group of muscles is also know as the quadriceps surae. This muscle group are extrinsic muscles- muscles located in the lower leg and attaching into the foot.  The main action of these muscles is plantarflexion of the foot at the ankle joint, which is an important action during the gait cycle when pushing off the ground(toe-off phase). When you wear a positive heel shoe, these muscles shorten. And when they shorten, they restrict dorsiflexion.

In the anterior compartment of the lower leg, it contains the tibialis anterior, extensor hallucuis longus and extensor digitorum longus. These muscles dorsiflexes the foot at the ankle.

Restriction of dorsiflexion is the lack of lengthen in the posterior compartment and the lack of fibula and tibia widening around the the talus in the front of the lower leg. The superior articular surface of the talus is wider anteriorly.

The fibula and tibia is loaded in dorsiflexion, it provides a snug fit around the talus and  in the push off  phase of the gait, creates  stability, which is a good argument in itself for landing under your center of mass while running.  The tibia and fibula rotate slightly and need to be mobile.

                                                                FOAM ROLL CALF
                             MUSCLETRAC is a stick to roll against the anterior portion of the shin
Muscles can get  knots and adhesions. Foam rolling helps to get rid of these  knots, adhesions and gets things moving again.. If you feel tender spots while rolling hold for a few seconds, but in general you want to roll an area for about 1-3minutes.

Not only does this stretch restores the length in the calf, it's an evaluation of were you are at. For most people, getting the opposite leg forward can be difficult. A tight calf affects your gait, knee, the way your pelvis sits, increases the torque on the spine, etc. putting this stretch on the top of your list is a must..
SOLEUS STRETCH(bend the knee)
You want to get muscles back to their correct length. When the muscles in the foot(intrinsic muscle) are weak, the extrinsic muscles begin to compensate and become tight and restricted.  Doing the calf stretch, soleus stretch and the top of the foot stretch will help the joint to have full range of motion and get these muscles  back to their correct length. In 1999 , Dr. Rossi said the human body does not require shoes to stabilize the joints and keep the lower leg tissues healthy. You can!  Improving dorsiflexion in the lower leg will improve your balance and stability. Stability and mobility compliment each other , it affects the way we stand, walk or run.
Wearing shoes with a positive heel and sitting the bulk of the day affect your dorsiflexion. Tension in the tissue of the lower leg affects the integrity of the upper body.  Limited dorsiflexion affects the Whole Body! Get Aligned!


  1. Thanks for this and the post about pelvic floor, you said that you had a plan to write about psoas:) Please write!